Two men living in St Vincent were granted bail in the sum of $60,000 each when they were brought before the Magistrate’s Court yesterday in relation to a prohibited firearm and 20 rounds of ammunition.
It is alleged that the assault rifle and bullets were found aboard Tenacity – a vessel from St Vincent and the Grenadines that was docked at Port Purcell when it was searched on January 20.
According to Senior Crown Counsel Leslie-Ann Faulkner, representatives of the Customs Department and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force searched and found the weapon in the cargo area of the vessel.
She added that, during separate police interviews, 66-year-old boat captain Lee Martin and 43-year-old Mitchell Warren denied knowledge of the weapon.
No strangers to the BVI
The court further heard, through bail applications, that the two accused have relatively good knowledge of the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
Martin, who stated that he has been a seaman for decades, indicated that he was in the BVI between 1990 and 1993 before he left the territory to work in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
He added that, since he left, he only returned to the territory on one occasion prior to now.
Martin added that he made a second return this year – a trip that he said would have been his last because he is now sailing into retirement.
Martin, who did not have legal representation when he appeared before Magistrate Ayana Baptiste-DaBreo yesterday, had a tough time convincing the court that he has a suitable place to stay in the BVI until the case is again mentioned on June 2.
The court heard that Martin is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, but he lives alone in St Vincent.
He has five young children, and is now single despite being married twice. Martin told the court that his first wife died of cancer.
The other accused man, Warren, who is being represented by attorney Leroy Jones, has been making trips to the BVI in a professional capacity.
He is employed to Silvester Shariff Marine, also known as S&S Marine, in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Warren’s lawyer told the court that his client has no previous conviction, will not interfere with witnesses, and is not a flight risk. He has two young children.
Warren’s lawyer further said his client was not yet in a position to plead to the charges because, up to when he appeared in court yesterday, he did not receive the necessary documentation from the prosecution.
Magistrate Baptiste-Dabreo then agreed to hear the man’s plea at a later date.
In granting each of the alleged offenders bail with one or two sureties, Magistrate Baptiste-Dabreo noted that $10,000 of the total bail amount ($60,000) should be paid in cash. She also considered the fact that the gun allegedly was found on the vessel – not specifically on the two men charged.
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