BVI News

BVI newcomer gets 6 months in prison, fined $5K for gun

Dominican Republic native Jhoncarlos Castillo being escorted from the Magistrate’s Court after his sentencing on Thursday.

A relative newcomer to the territory — Jhoncarlos Castillo of the Dominican Republic — was sentenced to six months imprisonment and fined $5,000 after he was caught with a rusting, unlicenced 9mm Taurus handgun in September.

The 21-year-old gardener pleaded guilty to keeping a firearm without a license when he appeared before Magistrate Shawn Innocent on Thursday.

He has up to three months to pay the fine, or in default, will spend six months at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut. That default sentence would run concurrently (at the same time) to his other sentence. This means he will only spend a total of six months in prison if he pays the fine or not.

The court, in the meantime, ordered that the custodial sentence take effect from the date he was first remanded — September 14.

In handing down the sentence, Magistrate Innocent said he took into consideration the seriousness of the offence and the fact that the offender used the weapon to instil fear in his landlord and roommate. Those, he said, were aggravating factors in the matter.

On the other hand, the court said the mitigating factors were that the gun was not found on Castillo in a public place, nor did it have a magazine with ammunition. The court reasoned that the absence of a magazine or bullets made the weapon virtually non-functional. This, the magistrate said, placed Castillo’s offence on the ‘lower end’ of the firearm offences scale.

Mitigating factors outweigh aggravating ones, says court

The magistrate, therefore, concluded that the mitigating factors of the case outweighed the aggravating factors.

“[This sentence] is to teach you to obey the law … Not only have you brought shame on your father, but on yourself by your infantile attitude.”

The young Hispanic offender has been in the territory on a work permit for eight months while his father has been working in the territory for the past few years.

According to the Virgin Islands Firearms and Air Guns (Amendment) Act of 2015, a person convicted of keeping/carrying a firearm is liable “to a fine of not less than fifty thousand dollars or imprisonment for a term of not less than five years or both”.

The law also provides for the court to exercise “discretion” and impose a lesser penalty if “it is fair and just in all the circumstances”, if it is of the opinion that the imposition of the minimum five-year penalty is “arbitrary and disproportionate”, or if the offender is “unfit to serve the minimum sentence or is of advanced years”.

ALSO READ: Scatliffe gets below minimum penalty for gun crime

What the court heard happened

The court heard that on September 13, police conducted a search of Castillo’s Long Look residence after receiving a report from the landlord that the young man was in possession of a firearm.

The search uncovered the gun with an obliterated serial number on the top shelf of Castillo’s bedroom closet.

When questioned, he told police that he found the illegal firearm in a boat in Parham Town and kept it for his protection.

He then led police to the boat where he found the firearm. He admitted to the police that he took photos with the gun and also showed it to his landlord and female roommate.

Castillo was subsequently arrested and charged.

Attorney-at-law Nelson Samuel represented Castillo.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

27 Comments

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  1. BuzzBvi says:

    Never going to get rid of guns like this.
    If you have a gun you should be going away for a very long time.
    These are bad judgements.
    The judges are deciding that the BVI should have a continuing culture.
    Shouldn’t the people have a say.
    Used his gun to threaten his landlord and he is not being locked up for a very long time.
    Two people are not showing good judgement here.

    Like 15
    • Janice says:

      Maybe immigration policy should be revised ?

      Like 3
      Dislike 3
      • Anonymous says:

        YES – ONE STRIKE YOUR OUT – ONE STRICK YOUR OUT

        NO GUNS – GUNS AND CRIME – NO CRIME ACCEPTED IN THE BVI – NO GUNS – NO CRIME IN THE BVI – SEND THEM BACK – SEND THEM BACK TO WHERE THEY COME FROM – WHERE THEY BELONG. LAWLESSNESS IS NOT WANTED –

        MEW MANDATE – NO CRIME – NEW MANDATE – CRIME

        OTHRWISE YOU PAY THE TIME AND THE FINE AND

        REMOVED FROM THE BVI NEVER – NEVER TO BE GRANTED

        THE OPPORTUNITY OF RETURN – NO RE-ENTRYT –

        NO SECOND CHANCE.

        BRING BACK RULE OF LAW

        BRING BACK RULE OF LAW – STOP THE GUNS AND CRIME.

        2019 NEW BVI POLICY OBEY IF YOU WANT TO LIVE IN
        THE BVI

        2019 NEW BVI POLICY OBEY IF YOU WANT TO LIVE IN
        THE BVI

        YOU CAME FOR BETTER – WORK HARD AND DO BETTER

        JUST DO IT – JUST DO IT. BETTER LIFE – BETTER LIVING IN THE BVI

        GREAT FUTURE FOR THE BVI. MAKE IT A PARADISE AGAIN –

        LET IT SHINE – LET IT SHINE – LET IT SHINE!!!

    • Rubber Duck says:

      You have a gun you get ten years. No excuses. No barn here.
      That will work.

    • ms says:

      This individual who was given an opportunity for a better life in the BVI through it away. The law is the law you committee a CRIME – GO TO JAIL, PAY THE FINE AND RETURN TO YOUR HOME WHERE EVER THAT MIGHT BE. BVI CANNOT CONTINUE GIVING CHANCES TO INDIVIDUALS WHO BREAK THE LAW.

      STOP THE CYCLE OF REVOLVING DOOR SYNDROME OF KEEP REPEATED OFFENDERS. THE COMMON SENSE IS TO OBEY THE RULE OF LAW. RESPECT THE INDIVIDUAL WHO GAVE A PLACE TO REST YOUR HEAD BE THANKFUL.
      BVI CANNOT CONTINUE TO ALLOW CRIME OF ANY KIND TO DESTROY THE FIBER AND SAFETY – STOPPING THE BVI FROM SHOWING IT’S GREAT POTENTIAL. LET THE BVI BE A SHINNING EXAMPLE THAT INDIVIDUALS CANNOT COME TO THESES SHORES WITH THE INTENT OF DESTROYING – DESTROYING – DESRTROYING.

      PAY THE TIME FOR YOUR CRIME – WITH PENALTY AND DEPORT –
      PAY THE TIME FOR THE CRIME – RETURN TO YOUR PLACE OF BIRTH OR FROM WHERE YOU ENTERED THE BVI NEVER TO – AGAIN NEVER TO RETUJRN TO THE SHORES OF THE BVI.

    • ms says:

      JUDGES DO YOUR JOB – JOB – WORK TO KEEP CRIME AND GUNS OUT OF THE BVI – STRONGER POLICY – STRONGER PENALTY

      IMMEDIATE DEPORT – NEVER TO RETURN EVER AGAIN TO THE SHORES OF THE BVI.

      JUDGES DO YOUR JOB – DO YOUR JOB – WORK TO KEEP FCRIME AND GUNS OUT OF THE BVI. STRONGER POLICY – STRONGER PENALTY.

      NEW YEAR 2019 A MUST VISIT STRONG BOARDERS – REMOVE CRIME DOER – REMOVE GUN OFFENDERS – RETURN INDIVIDUAL IMMEDIATELY BACK TO THEIR HOME LAND.

      DO NOT PASS GO! REMOVE IMMEDIATELY BACK TO THEIR HOME LAND. IMMEDIATELY! – NO QUESTIONS – NO SECOND CHANCE.

      GUN FREE IN YOUR BVI HOME LANDK
      VIOLANCE/CRIME FREE IN YOUR BACK – SECURE NEW ROLE

  2. What!!! says:

    Innocent strikes again with soft sentences for guns!

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  3. Snoppy says:

    So this dude can be walking the streets again by March 14 without paying a d**m penny!!!
    Thanks innocent

    • Caribbean Girl says:

      In the beginning Judge Innocent was hard on accused individuals. Now he’s getting softy.

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
    • Bobs Burger says:

      Are you aware that once your not from here and you serve more than 3 months at HMP, Youll be deported after your sentence has bin served ?

      • MS says:

        YES – IMMEDIATELY REMOVE ALL BAD FRUITS – CANNOT CONTINUE DESTROYING THE CROPS WITH CRIME – GUNS AND VIOLENCE IN THE BVI.

        THEM NEED TO BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY AND CONDUCT THAT TYPE OF BEHAVIOR IN THEIR OWN BACK YARD. NOT NEED IN THE BVI. SAFETY – SAFETY A MUST FOR A PRODUCTIVE INDUSTRY OF GROWTH TO BRING BACK –

        LAWMAKERS – LAWMAKERS – POLITICANS – POLITICANS -JUDGES – JUDGES SET MORE STRONG RULES.
        STOP REWARDING THE BAD AND REMOVE THAT WHICH IS STOPPING THE POSITIVE GROWTH WITHIN THE BVI ONCE A VERY BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO LIVE -=

        GET BACK ON TOP AGAIN – GET BACK ON TOP AGAIN –

        2019 – GET ON BOARD WITH NEW ATTITUDE – SAFETY – SAFETY A MUST FOR GROWTH.

        GET WITH THE NEW LEASE ON LIFE. A PLACE AS IT WAS VERY – VERY – VERY LITTLE CRIME AND GUNS NEVER A WORD JUST SHARE JOY AND HAPPINESS – SEE A BETTER FUTURE FOR THE BVI STARTING 2019 – YES IT CAN HAPPEN – IT IS ALL UP THOSE WHO CAN STILL DREAM AND SEE THE LIGHT AHEAD

        SO LAWMAKERS, POLITICIANS AND JUDGES JUST DO IT –

        FREE OF CRIME IS A FREE MIND – FREE OF CRIME IS A FREE MIND.

        PEACE – SAFETY WITH A CLEAR FUTURE FOR THE BVI STARTING IN 2019 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

  4. mmario says:

    6 Months isn’t enough for such offence. That gun was going to take someones life and we have had enough of that already. When is it that the lawmakers will wake up to this reality?

    If you’all need training on how to handle such situation, perhaps you should take a look at Singapore 0 Tolerance on illegal activities.

  5. true says:

    5 YEARS every time no matter what factors will get the point across

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
    • Marilyn says:

      IMMEDIATE – IMMEDIATE DEPORT FROM THE BVI

      MONEY WASTED – DEPORT – DEPORT – NEVER TO RETURN EVER AGAIN TO THE SHORS OF THE BVI.

      IT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD AND BVI IS NOT A PLACE FOR VIOLENCE – CRIME NOR GUNS. NOT HERE

      BVI COME BACK STRONG – STRONGER – WITHOUT CRIME AND GUNS.

      NO GUNS – NO CRIME – IN THIS A YARD

      NO GUNS – NO CRIME – IN THIS A YARD

      BAD BOY BEHAVIOR NOT WANTED
      BAD BOY BEHAVIOR NOT WANTED

      DARK DAYS AE GONE –

      2019 – 2019 – 2019 – DRUG FREE – CRIME FREE – GUN FREE SOCIETY – BVI STRONG – STRONGER BVI 2019 – 2019.

      LET YOUR CONSCIOUS BE YOUR GUIDE IN WHAT ONE CAN DREAD OF SAFETY – SAFETY – HAPPINESS – HAPPINESS

      A 2019 NEW YEAR TO DREAD OF – KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!

      POLITICAL LEADERS – WORK HARD – WORK HARDER – LESS TALK – ACTION – SHOW ACTION – SHOW ACTION –

      A NEW 2019 BVI THEME –

      SAFE – SAFE – SAFER – SAFER BVI FOR THE FUIURE!!

    • Marilyn says:

      0 – 0 – POLICY – IMMEDIATE – IMMEDIATE REMOVE FROM BVI ISLAND. ONE MUST SEE THEIR FUTURE IN THEIR HANDS WHEN THEY ENTER THESE BVI SHORES AND IT CAN BE FOR THE FBETTER – ONE MUST WORK FOR IT NOTHING COME EASY OR ANYTHING IS GIVEN AWAY FOR FREE. A NEW PLACE OF CITIZENSHIP IS REWARDED AMD POSITIVE BEHAVIOR IS A MUST.

      REMOVE IMMEDIATELYT AND RETURN HOME IN THEIR OWN BACK YARD TO CONDUCT THAT NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR AND DESTROYING ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE STILL A VISITOR.

      ONE MUST SEE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT – STRAIGHT AHEAD AND NOT AKE THE NEGATIVE ROAD AHEAD.

      IMMEDIATELY REMOVAL – SEND BACK BAD DOERS OF ANY KIND AGAINST THE BVI FUTURE AND GROWTH.

  6. Question says:

    Why is it there is never one single gun and or drug related case from our segregated European communities ever appearing before the courts?

    It is blatantly clear for all observers to see that there is definitely an unpoliced, privileged and law exempt community existing in our BVI.

    Why is it none in those communities are never under suspicion and or arrested for use of, importation and sales of illicit substances and firearms,? when everyone knows from international statics that they are as equally, if not more so, involved in all levels of trade and usage.

    Why is the RVPF giving those communities immunity from prosecution for decades now?

    That smells like selective policing and therefore foul equal execution of the law .

    Like 6
    Dislike 13
  7. MINIMUM SENTENCES says:

    Magistrate Shawn Innocent MAKES A JOKE OUT OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM…

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  8. Only ignorance says:

    Can make such statements…you smell of foul stink yourself and stop being racialist..

    Like 1
    Dislike 6
  9. The Law. says:

    Doesnt the governor have to immediatly deport him after his prison time as it is more than 3 months.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
    • NotQuiteSure says:

      I believe the sentence has to be atleast 6 months. As my name state I’m “not quite sure”

    • Guy Hill says:

      No. Immigration has to make that request of the Governor IN WRITING. Deportation is desirable for ANY offense “punishable” by three (3) months or more.If subject was legally in the Territory he has the right to appeal . Hope this helps.

  10. @Only ignorance says:

    The truth smells just fine stink b*m racist!

  11. Well says:

    Just send him back to the DR we don’t need to feed him he just come and this is what he doing. MY JESUS.

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