Bail withheld on imitation firearm charge

Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn withheld bail on Wednesday after hearing an application on behalf of Jonathan Welcome, who is accused of having an imitation firearm with intent to resist arrest.

Crown counsel Scott Wainwright said Welcome, 22, was charged with an imitation firearm because no firearm was recovered after the incident, “so we are in no position to say if it was real or not.”

Welcome, 22, is also charged with causing fear or provocation of violence. Both charges relate to an incident that occurred around 1:25 a.m. on Sunday, April 24, when, the prosecution alleges, Welcome threatened two police officers with harm.

Officers on patrol in School Road in George Town that night observed three males, one of whom was Jonathan Samuel Welcome, Mr. Wainwright said.

The officers stopped their vehicle and called Welcome over. As one of the officers was exiting the vehicle, he observed Welcome take hold of a firearm from his waist and begin running.

The two officers gave chase, shouting for Welcome to drop the gun. As they followed him into Grescott Lane, Welcome pointed the gun at them while continuing to run. Welcome also allegedly pointed the gun at two civilians.

Near George Town Primary School, the court heard, Welcome stopped, turned and again pointed the gun at officers. Police said they did not discharge their guns because there were members of the public in the area. Welcome then made his escape.

Welcome was arrested at a Prospect address on April 22, as a result of intelligence police had received. Two females in the residence, one of whom was said to be Welcome’s girlfriend, told police Welcome had been there but had left the night before. When the officers checked a roof space, they found Welcome in the attic.

Mr. Wainwright noted that Welcome had a previous conviction for possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offense; he had been released from prison in July, 2015.

The identification of Welcome came from two officers who knew him, Mr. Wainwright said.

Defense attorney Prathna Bodden said this was a case of mistaken identity. One officer had said he knew Welcome previously; the other officer said he recognized him from photographs.

The first officer did not initially notice a firearm, she pointed out. It was only after the second officer shouted “Drop your gun” that a firearm was recognized, she said.

There was no ID parade and no independent witnesses, and the incident occurred in the middle of the night, Ms. Bodden said.

The magistrate remanded Welcome in custody until Tuesday, May 17, when he is expected to elect whether he wants his case heard in Summary Court or Grand Court.

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