No bail for man accused of having imitation gun outside prison

A man accused of having a firearm outside Northward Prison on Saturday appeared in Summary Court on Tuesday afternoon, when he was denied bail.

Matthew Anthony Whittaker, 26, was charged with possession of an imitation .22 revolver with intent to resist arrest, and three rounds of ammunition, on Saturday, May 6, following an incident outside Her Majesty’s Prison at Northward.

Crown counsel Neil Kumar explained why the gun was described as an imitation firearm. He said the revolver was checked and shown to have a faulty hammer; when test fired, it failed to discharge.

Mr. Kumar told Magistrate Valdis Foldats that the incident began on Saturday afternoon, when Whittaker accompanied a female to the prison where he remained outside while she was visiting an inmate. Whittaker was approached by a prison guard whom he knew and they talked.

Whittaker subsequently had a confrontation with an unknown male and pulled a knife from his pocket. He then produced a silver object which the prison officer said was a gun.

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Police were called and when a marked police unit arrived, Whittaker attempted to drive away. His vehicle was blocked and he fled on foot, running along a fence line.

He was chased and arrested.

Mr. Kumar said the area was searched and nothing found. A more intrusive search was carried out the next day and a .22 revolver was found partially buried in a flower pot at an officer’s bungalow. The revolver contained three rounds of ammunition.

On Monday, Whittaker was interviewed and made no comment, but provided a statement. He denied knowledge of the gun or ammunition. He said he ran from police because he was behind the wheel of the vehicle while drunk and he did not have a driver’s license. Inquiries were being made about CCTV from the prison system, Mr. Kumar concluded.

Attorney James Stenning applied for bail, pointing out that Whittaker had accepted responsibility for several offenses that Saturday afternoon, “but absolutely denies the firearm.”

Mr. Stenning said Whittaker, of a Bodden Town address, would be in danger of losing his job if he did not get bail. His mother was in court ready to stand as surety and the court could impose a curfew, the attorney suggested.

The magistrate said he was withholding bail, but Whittaker could apply to the Grand Court. He set the matter for mention again on Tuesday, May 30.

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