BVI News

Sentence reduced in Cordell O’Neal gun case

High Court

High Court

Cordell O’Neal, the son of former legislator Irene Penn-O’Neal, has received a reduced prison sentence for gun offences to which he pleaded guilty two years ago.

The Court of Appeal last Friday reduced his sentence from seven years and 10 months, to five-and-a-half years.

Back in 2015, Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards sentenced Cordell to two years imprisonment for keeping an unlicensed firearm, five-and-a-half years for possession of a prohibited weapon, and four months for possession of explosives.

She also ordered Cordell to serve the sentences consecutively (one after the other).

However, in describing the judgement as a ‘manifestly unreasonable and unjust’, the offender’s attorney E Leroy Jones successfully filed an appeal.

The offender’s attorney argued that Magistrate Richards should have ordered that his client’s sentences run concurrently (at the same) instead of consecutively.

He further argued that his client should have received the usual ‘one-third discount’ to the sentence for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Justices Janice Pereira, Mario Mitchell and Paul Webster who presided over the appeal ruled in Cordell’s favour.

The offender has spent more than two years in prison so far.

He possibly could be out within a year from now if he is granted an early release, BVI News Online has been informed.

In the meantime, O’Neal and his mother were among four persons arrested and charged when police executed a search warrant at their residence and found an AK47 magazine, an empty pistol case, and 37 rounds of ammunition in October 2014.

The other two accused were Cordell’s sister Zubida O’Neal, as well as a family friend Shameek Grant.

All of those charged – except Cordell – were acquitted.

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