Wayne Bellafonte Jr., 25, was released from custody this week after pleading guilty to possession of ganja for his own use.
The ganja, 54.825 grams, was found in a cigarette box in the glove compartment of a vehicle in which police also discovered a loaded firearm in the early hours of May 7, 2016.
Bellafonte pleaded not guilty to possession of the unlicensed firearm. A Grand Court jury found him not guilty last week. Part of the defense case, conducted by attorney Laura Larner, was that the Lorcin semiautomatic pistol did not have any DNA or fingerprints on it.
The charges arose from an incident in the parking lot at the Fete Night Club. Police were called to the scene and spoke to Bellafonte. He had a set of keys and he was asked which vehicle the car key was for. He indicated a Ford. However, the officer noted that the key was for a Honda Civic and saw one such vehicle two spaces over.
The officer shone a flashlight into the Honda and saw what appeared to be the handle of a handgun near the driver’s seat. A trained firearm officer was alerted and came to the scene to retrieve and secure the gun.
Three other men had been in the car with Bellafonte, and he always denied knowledge of the gun.
Charges of possession and consumption of ganja remained in Summary Court. This week the defendant pleaded guilty to both. Magistrate Adam Roberts sentenced him to one month imprisonment and gave him credit for time in custody. The result was that Bellafonte was free to go.