The woman sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for unlawful possession of four bullets was granted bail on Tuesday pending her appeal of her conviction and her sentence.
Kimesha Tameka Walters, 30, was sentenced in Summary Court on April 18 after Magistrate Grace Donalds found her guilty of possessing the .38 ammunition at her North Sound Road apartment on Feb. 18, 2016.
Walters had been in custody since her arrest. At a later court appearance she pleaded not guilty to having the bullets, but guilty of possessing 5.29 ounces of ganja with intent to supply. After her trial, Walters was sentenced to six months for the ganja, and the $1,500 found in the apartment was ordered to be forfeited to the Crown.
The six months was to run consecutive to the sentence for the four bullets.
The Firearms Law of 2008 includes ammunition in its definition of a firearm.
Further, the law makes a 10-year sentence mandatory for conviction after a not guilty plea, unless there are circumstances exceptional to the offense or to the offender.
However, an earlier subsection of the law states that the minimum sentence for certain offenses “applies where … the offense is in respect of a machine gun, sub-machine gun, rifle, shot gun, pistol, or any lethal barreled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged.” Bullets are not included in this subsection of the law.
On Wednesday morning, Walters appeared in Summary Court on a charge of common assault, which arose from an incident while she was in custody at Fairbanks Prison. Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson explained to Magistrate Donalds that the Grand Court had granted bail on the firearm matter; he said he was not objecting to bail on the same terms for the assault charge, which is a Summary Court matter.
Defense attorney Margeta Facey-Clarke, who represented Walters at her firearm trial, attended as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to further explain Walters’s present situation.
She said she had been approached by the Crown last week to have the bullet sentence brought back before the Summary Court on the basis of the “slip rule.” However, she had already filed her grounds of appeal to the Grand Court, so the Summary Court no longer had jurisdiction.
(Various internet sources describe the “slip rule” as an accepted legal practice by which a court may revisit a completed matter in order to correct or alter some aspect of it under certain circumstances. The slip rule seems to be interpreted in different ways in different jurisdictions.)
On Wednesday, the magistrate granted bail on the assault charge in the same terms as the Grand Court bail, but with the added condition that Walters stay away from the complainant, who has since been released from prison.
Other terms include residence at a specified address, the signing of a recognizance in the sum of $950 and retention of travel documents and passport by the courts office.
The appeal of the bullet conviction and sentence has tentatively been scheduled for Wednesday, May 17.
The trial for assault has been set for Wednesday, June 14, with a case management hearing on Thursday, May 18.