BVI News

I had it for protection! Hazel sentence to 5 years for illegal gun

Twenty-four-year-old Kenaz Hazel of Purcell Estate, Tortola was sentenced to five years at Her Majesty’s Prison after pleading guilty to carrying an unlicensed firearm.

Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin handed down the sentence during Hazel’s first in-person appearance for the matter on Wednesday.

Hazel, who was unrepresented, confessed to having an illegal Glock 40 handgun and told the court he had no intention to harm anyone. The offender also claimed he was in possession of the gun for his own safety. 

What the court heard happened

Prosecutors said that around 4:20 on Saturday, October 4, officers of the Royal Virgin Island Police Force were on patrol when they observed Hazel existing a grey tinted rental jeep and headed towards a ferry.

One officer observed Hazel with a large sum of money in his hand so the law enforcer approached him and asked what was in the backpack he was wearing.

Hazel responded that someone had given him the bag to drop to Virgin Gorda. Police then proceeded to conduct a quick search while on the vessel and asked the offender if anything illegal was inside the backpack. 

He responded: “I don’t know anything.”

Police then secured the accused via handcuffs, and escorted him off the ferry and conducted a further search of the backpack. A black shirt, a pair of slippers and a long black jeans pant were found — all of which the accused said belonged to him.

Gun found in backpack along with magazine

One black hand pistol wrapped in a sweater was also found in the backpack. The magazine for the weapon was out of the chamber and Hazel was immediately arrested.

Hazel was then taken to the Road Town Police Station where he was cautioned.

A further comprehensive search was conducted at the station and four live rounds of 40-millimetre calibre ammunition were reportedly found in Hazel’s front left pocket.

When the magazine was inspected, thirteen 40-millimetre rounds of live ammunition were reportedly counted from the magazine. No charges were brought before the court in relation to the ammo.

Meanwhile, the money Hazel was carrying was then counted and amounted to $500. It was kept for further financial investigations.


The minimum penalty for gun possession is five years in prison or a minimum fine of $50,000, or both.

The magistrate further noted that the offence was committed while the accused was on bail for another matter, but said she took into consideration that Hazel had no known criminal record before the court and that he pleaded guilty at his first available opportunity.

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  1. Here we go says:

    And this is why the criminals will continue to kill our people and wreak havoc in this place ….the court just giving them a slap on the wrist SMH

    Like 16
    Dislike 3
    • Truth says:

      And remember this is just the sentence. There’s no guarantee he will serve the 5 years. I’m sure he will get patrol after 2 years of ‘good behavior’. Crime pays in the BVI.

      Like 16
      Dislike 1
    • Yup says:

      Never punish the Belonger. Who did he need protection from. The other gangs selling drugs. This is out of control. You worry about people overstaying there visas. The Belonger has overstated their welcome. Time for the Brits to take over. An interim government will be placed soon. Once the government is insolvent (which is very near) the Brits will take control. Hurray. Can’t wait!!!

      Like 14
      Dislike 10
  2. Rightdirection says:

    Should have been longer, sending a stronger message that you will be lost in prison if you are found with a gun.

    Make sure put him to work also, so he pays for his housing and meal etc.

    Like 20
    Dislike 1
  3. Swift Justice says:

    Good on ya’ Lads.
    Clean it up.

  4. SMH! says:

    That sentence is BS and while I agree that these individuals should be reprimanded, that sentence is an injustice. The BVI Bar association, will really turn a blind eye to this. He has no prior convictions and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. These are mitigating circumstances. The starting point for the offence is 5 yrs, a fine of $50,000 or both. By this sentence, no consideration was given to the abovementioned mitigating circumstances. When we commit these kinds of injustices how do you suppose we can achieve rehabilitation of these individuals.

    Like 4
    Dislike 13
    • BuzzBvi says:

      Not really keen to see this person back with a gun in my face or any one else’s for at least 5 years. Let us hope after 5 he thinks it is not a good idea to do it again. In the mean time we safe for 5 years. Good idea of the 50,000 though. Keep him locked up until he can pay that as well.

      Like 11
      Dislike 1
  5. 2cents says:

    I find it very fishy that these 2 individuals were caught with weapons trying to catch ferry to VG on leaving Town and other Beef island. VI police please open your eyes and figure out these guys may very well be the ones committing the robberies in VG. People take note as these guys getting slaps on their wrist by LAW. utter rubbish in 2020.

    Like 17
  6. VIsLander says:

    The sentence is adequate for his crime. Sentences also don’t deter criminals because they don’t plan on getting caught. Only law abiding citizens follow the laws.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  7. Hmmmm says:

    All black and a gun. Probably thwarted a robbery or worst on VG!!

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  8. BuzzBvi says:

    i getting a gun for protection also. From him. Hope not to need it for 5 years.

  9. smh says:

    one 5yrs and one on bail

    • :) says:

      It’s because one plead guilty (Hazel) and one plead not guilty. When you plead guilty you don’t have to go through a trial just straight to sentencing phase. No bail is required when you plead guilty. The one who plead not guilty will have to stand trial and if found guilty will more than likely get more than 5 years for obviously wasting the Court’s time. While waiting for trial he has to be on remand or receive bail.

  10. 6N1NE says:

    Every minute these Hazel involved in gun crimes. This is the 3rd in the last 5 years. Who raised these animals? Matthew Hazel Kani Hazel

    Like 15
  11. .... says:

    police weak check both phone check if they spoke to each other lay another charge conspiracy to commit robbery…

    to males can’t have the same story and he same kinda of clothing in a back pack come on mehn

  12. Vg says:

    You speaking of mitigating circumstances? Doan see none in the article

  13. Mad Max says:

    So if you plead guilty that’s the end of the investigation? How about interrogation, what crimes has he committed? What was he really doing? Who are his associates? Has the gun been fired?

    We’re only playing at justice here.

  14. confused says:

    but the police said large sum of cash.. but then i read $500.00.. so we can get search now if we flash some cash?

  15. Hmmm says:

    Is it just me or is $500 insufficient cause to pursue someone onto a boat in order to search their person? Couldnt this had been a loophole to exploit for this mans lawyer?

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
    • BJD says:

      I think it is insufficient, on its own.

      It is possible that he was also behaving in a particular way and has a history.

      “One officer observed Hazel with a large sum of money in his hand so the law enforcer approached him and asked what was in the backpack he was wearing.”????

      When i was a police officer i would have had to have some other reason, and state it as well.

      People come from the ATM with up to 2500 in most jurisdictions

  16. Viresident says:


  17. Anonymous says:

    This is really a targeted young man , why are police asking wats in his bag they don’t do this to white people. The government in the bvi is not to protect people but to protect a good name or protect the government people need the opportunity to pretect there selves all these lawyers but they never have real cases

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