A judge cleared Elton David Webster of George Town on charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition on Wednesday.
Grand Court Judge Marva McDonald-Bishop acquitted Webster of the charges via video link.
A Glock 17 9mm handgun and 59 rounds of ammunition had been recovered during a police operation at Webster’s Prospect home in April 2018. Police found the gun and bullets in a bag that was wrapped in a towel and placed behind a microwave, the court heard.
During the trial, Webster denied any knowledge or ownership of the gun and bullets. A forensic analysis of the weapon revealed no DNA evidence that linked Webster to the gun or the bullets. However, DNA evidence did connect Webster to the towel.
While presenting her ruling, Justice McDonald-Bishop said she had reviewed the case extensively and had undergone significant “mental gymnastics” to arrive at her decision.
“The prosecution’s case was largely circumstantial,” the judge said. She noted there was a limited number of people who had access to the house, naming Webster, his wife and their domestic helper. “The DNA on the towel is linked to Webster. There was no evidence of police contaminating the DNA evidence. They say, all together, the evidence points to Mr. Webster as having been in possession and control.”
McDonald-Bishop added, “The defence says the towel would have been readily accessible to all occupants in the house and there is no telling how or when the DNA could have ended up on it.”
The judge said both the prosecution and defence cases were likely and therefore she could not be sure of Webster’s guilt.
“In the prosecution’s case, the standard of proof is not beyond a reasonable doubt,” said McDonald-Bishop. “While I believe that Mr Webster was lying, I must remind myself that people lie for different reasons and that does not mean he is guilty of the offence. I therefore come to the conclusion that I must acquit him of the charges.”
Before she discharged him, the judge said, “Mr. Webster, I have my suspicions, but you must count your blessings one by one. If you are involved in criminality, use this opportunity to reflect on where you want to go in life. That gun and ammunition had to have been placed by one of the occupants or by someone else with their supplication.”
The gun and ammunition were forfeited to the police.