Police firearm expert Durville Carty was called to testify in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday in the case against a boat captain and a passenger who were arrested last November in relation to a firearm seized in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The accused are US Virgin Islands (USVI) natives Jarvis Hodge, and Derrick Callwood who is said to be a licensed firearm holder in the USVI.
Hodge is the boat captain.
Both men were implicated in the alleged illicit importation of a Glock pistol into the BVI.
In court, Officer Carty testified that the protocol is for a licensed gun being brought into the BVI to be declared to Customs officers at the port of entry.
He further stated that the holder of such firearm should call the Royal Virgin Police Force and declare that he/she is bringing the weapon into the BVI.
However, during cross-examination, defence attorney Stephen Daniels asked the cop to state where the referenced policy can be found.
The officer said he does not know.
In a bid to prove that there was no ill-intent by either of his clients, Daniels noted that the weapon was in a holster and that the serial number was still intact.
He then asked the firearm expert if it is factual that most serial numbers on illegal guns in the BVI are scratched or obliterated.
The cop agreed and said ‘sometimes’.
Officer Carty also stated that, based on his experience, it was ‘rare’ for police officers to find an illegal gun being carried in a holster.
In the meantime, Customs Officer Julio Thomas also took to the witness stand yesterday.
He told the court that boat captains usually inherit custody of items such as guns that are brought onto their vessels and, therefore, they have a responsibility to declare when entering the BVI.
The accused men are scheduled to return to court today for the continuation of their trial.
Allegations are that, on November 5 last year, Customs officers at the West End Ferry Terminal asked the captain (Hodge) if he had anything to declare.
He allegedly said no.
Prosecutors said he knew the weapon was on the vessel called ‘Inter Island Ferry Service’, which operates between the BVI and USVI.
He is charged with giving false information to a public officer.
As it relates to Callwood, who is reportedly a licensed firearm holder in the USVI, he was charged because he allegedly did not declare the weapon on the Customs Declaration Form upon entering the BVI.
He is charged with untrue declaration, importation of explosives, and carrying an unlicensed firearm.
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