15 years for firearm offences

Matio Dinall, 21, was sentence on Friday to 15 years imprisonment after being found guilty of firearms offences relating to a shooting incident at a Bodden Town residence in March.

Dinall had chosen to be tried by judge alone and Mr. Justice Lloyd Hibbert found him guilty (Caymanian Compass, 25 November).

The offences were possession of an unlicensed firearm with intent to commit an offence and possession of unlicensed ammunition. The gun was a nine millimetre handgun.

The house was damaged in the incident, but no one was injured. Four people were inside at the time, including a child age two.

The judge commented that Dinall was quite fortunate – he could have been in court on a more serious charge with graver consequences.

He also pointed out that he could impose sentences that would run consecutively. However, he bore in mind all that had been said in mitigation by Attorney David McGrath. Therefore the sentences would run concurrently; that is, at the same time.

The sentence for the first offence was 15 years, with 10 years for the ammunition.

Mr. McGrath had asked the court to consider Dinall’s youth, the comparatively minor nature of his previous convictions and his family circumstances.

The judge said it was his belief that concern for family was something the defendant should have taken into consideration before embarking on crime.

Dinall is the first person to be sentenced for a firearm offence since a new amendment to the law came into force on 15 November. It sets 10 years as a mandatory minimum sentence. The maximum is unchanged, at 20 years.

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