Cartridges were not for flare gun

Roman Chet Ritch was sentenced to five months imprisonment last Wednesday for possession of 11 shotgun cartridges and one spent shell.

Justice Priya Levers gave him credit for his time in custody, which was five months and two weeks, so the effect was no time left to serve.

Ritch, 20, was charged as a result of incidents occurring in March 2007. Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey advised the court that Ritch was acquitted of all matters against him except this one.

A Grand Court jury returned not guilty verdicts for Ritch and a co-accused on 13 February after hearing evidence of a dispute between them and another group of men in the Windsor Park area. Ritch entered his guilty plea to possession of the ammunition before that trial began.

Mr. Dixey said his client’s contention was that he thought the cartridges were for a flare gun. He had recovered them from the beach in South Sound after Hurricane Ivan, which hit Cayman in September 2004. Ritch has a boat and thought the cartridges ‘might be useful in the future.’

Crown Counsel John Masters said police executed a search warrant at Ritch’s residence on 26 March 2007. The defendant was cooperative and directed officers to his room. During the search the cartridges and shell were recovered from his dresser.

Mr. Masters said he could not disagree that the ammunition looked like flare gun cartridges, which come in a variety of sizes and colours.

Justice Priya Levers said she accepted that Ritch thought the cartridges were for a flare gun.

Factors she considered in passing sentence included his age, the fact he was in steady employment, no shotgun had been found, and he had no previous convictions of a similar nature.