Despite the 2015 amendment to the BVI’s gun laws which state that convicted gun offenders be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison, fined at least $50,000 OR both, Halim Scatliffe — the man found with a loaded gun, $26,000 worth of cocaine, and other contraband weeks ago — will serve fewer than five years imprisonment for all those offences.
That was the sentence Magistrate Shawn Innocent handed down when the 35-year-old offender appeared before him on Wednesday.
Notably, the said amended gun laws provide 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”.
Breakdown of sentences
A breakdown of Scatliffe’s sentence shows him being given three years and four months imprisonment for being in possession of an unlicensed firearm, and another four months imprisonment for possession of ammunition.
Scatliffe was sentenced to two year-and-half years imprisonment for possession of cocaine and another two-and-half years for possession of the drugs with intent to supply.
Magistrate Innocent ruled that the sentences run concurrently (side by side). That means the Huntums Ghut resident will only spend a total of three years and four months for the aforementioned offences.
Scatliffe, in the meantime, was slapped with an additional eight-month custodial sentence for common assault and two months for threatening language.
The court ruled that those two offences run consecutively or one after the other. That brings Scatliffe’s overall time in prison to four years and two months.
His sentence will commence from the date he was first remanded — September 22. The 35-year-old is currently serving a 12-month prison sentence for an unrelated drug matter.
What the court heard happened
The court heard that sometime in September this year, police apprehended Halim during a traffic stop after receiving reports that he had threatened to kill another man in relation to drugs.
It was during that time that police searched his vehicle and found a loaded 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol in a box with 15 rounds of ammunition.
Police subsequently headed to his home to conduct a further search when a vehicle with his father Jerome Scatliffe, and his Common Law wife Debralee Fahie was seen exiting the premises.
A search of that vehicle uncovered 260 grams of cocaine in a knapsack with 335 dime bags.
The trio was arrested and formally charged, however, the charges against Scatliffe senior and Fahie were later withdrawn.
Attorney-at-law Nelson Samuel represented Scatliffe.
Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.