Gun replica used to commit offence

An imitation firearm was used to commit the offence of threatening violence, so it cost Jonathan Mellard two and a half years imprisonment.

Justice Priya Levers sentenced Mellard earlier this month after hearing details of the incident and of his previous record, which she called abominable.

Crown Counsel Kirsti-Ann Gunn said the incident occurred at Caribbean Bakery in West Bay on 26 August. Staff members and a security guard were on duty.

Mellard entered the store and was kept under observation because staff thought his behaviour was suspicious; they thought he had items on him that he had not paid for.

The guard spoke to him about possible shoplifting and there was a physical confrontation that ended with Mellard being ejected from the store.

The guard remained at the door and Mellard threw a bicycle. He then left and returned with what appeared to be a handgun.

It looked real to the guard, who was a former member of the military in The Philippines. He shouted a warning to other staff members and took cover himself.

Police were called and when they arrived Mellard was still in the area. He initially denied the incident, but then took police to where the item was recovered. He said he had no recollection of having the gun on him or using it as alleged.

The imitation firearm was displayed in court and described as looking identical to a real gun but with no moving parts.

Mrs. Gunn said Mellard was 24 years old and had previous convictions for violence, assault, offensive weapons and threatening violence.

She advised the court that sentences ranged from nine months to five years in previous cases of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence, depending on the circumstances.

Attorney John Furniss said Mellard’s offence was the height of stupidity. He knew the people at the store and they knew him. He should have just gone away.

When police arrived at the scene, Mellard told them he had been drinking, Mr. Furniss pointed out. The drink may have affected his behaviour.

Asked if he had anything to say, the defendant told the court he did have a problem with drinking from his younger days. He asked for a chance to get some help.

The judge said there were no mitigating circumstances in this case.