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Oct 10, 2014

Major Challenges Firearm Act in Court

Anthony Sylvestre

In April 2012, a family of seven, including Allison Major, was charged for firearm offences, following the discovery of a pair of shotguns at their residence on Peter Seco Street.  Despite the fact that nineteen-year-old Kent Lynch subsequently took the rap for the offences, Major was also arraigned since he is listed at the same address.  After spending a little over a month on remand, Major was offered bail and in November of last year the case concluded with the charge being dropped.  Major is now challenging the firearm act in court and today attorney Anthony Sylvestre laid out the merits of the case for us.

 

Anthony Sylvestre , Attorney

“Mr. Allison Major, like many unfortunate and regrettable citizens of Belize have been caught under the provisions of the Firearms Act.  He, in April 2012, in fact he was arrested although not even present at the address.  The police they had information or they had, as the police officer later described in court, they acted on intelligence and went in search of Mr. Major elsewhere, not at the premises where the firearm and ammunition was found.  They based his arrest and charge on the basis that he was the ordinary resident at the premises and the existing Firearms Act at the time provides that the person who ordinarily resided at the premises that that person was deemed to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition that was found there and that he, in a court of law, had to establish that he did not know that that firearm or that ammunition was there. Now Mr. Major’s case exemplifies the real craziness and the real absurdity of this law where persons who are innocent, where persons who, you know are decent law-abiding citizens are pulled into this web.  Thirty-eight days in prison, his livelihood, he’s a security guard, he is very fortunate his employers didn’t just terminate his service, you know.  You being a security guard and you are actually carted off to prison, you know, he could have lost his job there and then.  He certainly, because his name would have been brandished on the television, people… It certainly had and in some respect still has some impact on his character and so in this challenge which we’ve now brought to the court we’ve basically, essentially we are challenging the constitutionality of the act and specifically that Mr. Major and all citizens in Belize, they have a right not to be arrested or charged unless there is reasonable suspicion.”

 

Amendments to the Firearms Act and Gun Control Act were passed in the senate this week. The government acknowledges that much more needs to be done to address all concerns about the Firearm and Gun Control Acts.

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1 Response for “Major Challenges Firearm Act in Court”

  1. Steve D. says:

    Firearms availability is the ruination of this country.

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