BVI News

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I kept guns for protection from crime

Shakeel Pondt at the Road Town Police Station.

Shakeel Pondt, the man who police held with three guns and 99 bullets has claimed that he found the guns and kept them for protection.

“Basically I had no intention on using the gun on anyone. I only walk with the gun them because I heard about a 13-year-old that got raped, and the Spanish man that died that got shot [immediately after the hurricane],” Pondt said in a letter read to the court on Friday.

While pleading for leniency, the gun offender also claimed that he had the guns because the mother of his child was in fear after she heard an intruder ‘jiggling’ on a door knob while at home.

However, neither Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste DaBreo nor the Prosecution bought into the the offender’s claims.

“The defendant’s statement is quite self-serving,” Magistrate DaBreo said in response to the letter.

He’s a good man, good father

A close family member of the offender also wrote an impassioned letter to the court on Pondt’s behalf.

Pondt’s relative described him as ‘a good person who made a bad choice’. The relative also described him as a good father.

Though touched by the letter, the court said the relative’s words were written out of love and was therefore biased.

“I can’t sit here and rule on emotions… I don’t take pleasure in sentencing someone because everytime we sentence someone, it’s a loss to society,” the magistrate said.

She continued: “Once you commit the crime then you are saying: I am prepared to face the punishment.”

While making it clear that Pondt will be sentenced to prison for the offences, Magistrate DaBreo said she needs time to consider the severity of the punishment.

According to BVI law, the minimum sentence for persons carrying an illegal firearm is five years in prison or a $50,000 fine.

Pondt is scheduled to be sentenced on January 15.

The 31-year-old offender pleaded guilty this month to unlawful possession of explosives, possession of 3.34 grams cocaine, possession 207 grams of cannabis, three counts of keeping an unlicensed firearm, and two counts of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply to another.

Police found him with the illicit items four days after Hurricane Irma during a search of his person and residence.

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