Carlos David Sandoval won’t have to step foot in prison if he can stay out of trouble.
Sandoval, 24, pleaded guilty to having two .45 Winchester cartridges in his possession in June without a firearms licence
Bullets are considered firearms under the Firearms Law, but the mandatory minimum sentence of seven or 10 years does not apply, Magistrate Nova Hall agreed on Monday.
She was passing sentence on Sandoval.
His offence was made worse by the fact that he had been placed on probation two months previously for possession and consumption of ganja.
After hearing the facts and mitigation, the magistrate imposed a sentence of six months imprisonment, but suspended it for two years. If Sandoval comes back to court for another offence in that time, he will serve the six months in addition to any other sentence, she warned.
The magistrate also substituted a new probation order for two and a half years.
Crown Counsel Alister Cumming said police officers went to execute a search warrant at a residence occupied by Sandoval and others. He had his own bedroom and when they searched it, they found a shoe box containing a pair of shoes. In one shoe was a bag with two cartridge shells.
Sandoval told officers he had found the shells behind CUC where he used to work and he had forgotten about them.
Defence Attorney Edward Renvoize said the lack of any mandatory minimum sentence indicated that the legislature considered possession of ammunition less serious than possession of a firearm.
In this case, he called it a continuing offence because Sandoval found the bullets in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan. He picked them up, put them away and forgot about them.
‘Forgetfulness can never be a defence,’ Mr. Renvoize acknowledged. In his client’s favour was the immediate acceptance of possession and early guilty plea. The Crown had taken considerable time to establish whether the cartridges were usable; Sandoval said he did not know if they were.
Mr. Renvoize urged the court to consider community service, probation or a suspended sentence.
The magistrate said she took into account that Sandoval’s possession of the cartridges dated back to 2004 and there had been nothing since to elevate the seriousness of the matter.
He was placed on probation in April for possession and consumption of ganja. He pleaded guilty to consuming ganja in June.
Since the new offences, Sandoval had attended all sessions with his probation officer, was always on time and there had been no difficulties.
The magistrate placed him on probation for one year for the ganja offence and made it run concurrent.