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Feb 11, 2014

D.P.P. speaks on Firearms Act; says police is applying act improperly

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal

With the D.P.P. occupying a rare space in the spotlight, another issue which has dominated the news recently also came up…that is the Firearms Act. The act, amended in 2008, has been the cause of much distress to those, innocent and guilty, who have been swept up in its very wide-reaching and tightly-meshed net. Career cop Gino Peck escaped jail time at the eleventh hour recently with the judicious application of a provision in the Act, and his case has brought increased outcry for a revisiting of the law. At the Special Sitting of the House last week, Minister of Police John Saldivar revealed that the government would be taking another look at the Act, with a view to revision. That was surely welcome news in many quarters, but one person who won’t be jumping for joy is the D.P.P.  And that’s because she says that the problems exist not so much on the presumptions in the Act, but in the Police applying the Act improperly.

FOR VIDEO CLICK HERE.

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions

“I think what there has been is a misapplication of the Act. That is what has happened. There are various presumptions under the Act so that if several persons are found in a house…they ordinarily reside there – a firearm is found in a common area, everyone can be taken down. The presumption though would only apply where the prosecution cannot link with certainty a particular person to that firearm. So say for instance they went into the same house. They found the same people there. But in one of the bedroom they found that firearm, and one of those persons before the search commenced admitted that he is the only person who occupies that bedroom…then we can link him to the firearm so that the law will only allow us to charge him for that firearm…not to take down Granny and Grandpa and everybody else in the house, just that particular person. But maybe that is not the way it is being applied. I am not in favour of removing the presumptions, and I have made that very clear to the Minister…we’ve had a couple meetings in relation to proposed amendments to the Firearms Act. The presumptions are there for a purpose. It cannot be that the law would simply work into the hands of offenders that they can be creative with the way that they stash their firearms so it would mean that nobody at all could ever be charged with an offence. That is making it too easy and defeating the entire purpose of having a Firearms Act. So that I’m in support of the presumptions but we have been trying very hard with the Police Department to have them apply the Act properly so that it doesn’t work to the detriment of people who are not in fact offenders.”

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3 Responses for “D.P.P. speaks on Firearms Act; says police is applying act improperly”

  1. Torres says:

    I have to agree with what Mrs. Vidal says. Just like jurors don’t discuss their cases with family members same rules applies. it is very possible.
    Marco Vidal does have a lot of power in his hands as head of intelligence and head of GSU which is sponsored by the Department of State. His job and his wife’s job are two completely different portfolios which collectively are in the best interest of Justice.

  2. ceo says:

    There should be language in the Act that allows police officers and all those that are saddled with keeping peace & order and securing public safety to be exempt from this Act.

    With this privilege there should also be much responsibility and if at any time they need to draw their weapon they must have justifiable cause and if they fire their weapon they need to be investigated. This would force them to behave like the professionals they should be.

  3. ceo says:

    If it is left up to the police to know when to apply or not apply the law there will always be this type of problem.

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