The first case to be called before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne at the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown, on Monday, July 26, triggered what one friend of the Court described as a cause “for grave concern.”
Kenroy Cornwall was sentenced to 2 years, 11 months for the illegal possession of a firearm bearing the registration LNL 271. Conwell would also, concurrently, serve 6 months behind bars for the 5 rounds of .40 live ammunition that was recovered on his person.
When he first appeared, Cornwall pleaded guilty “with a cause” that he had illegal custody of the firearm in a public place, to wit, the CW Building which also houses the Kegbar, at Murray’s Village.
One source who came out in support of Cornwall explained to ANN that Cornwall was showing off the loaded weapon at the bar while and he appeared to be intoxicated. Acting on information received the police promptly responded with a team from the Special Services Unit that was led by Police Constable 74 Daniel and included PC 687 Ballantyne.
Cornwall, in turn, told the Serious Offences Court that he was unaware of what was in the bag because he was only holding it “for a minute” before he was nabbed by police.
At the time of his arrest the Murray’s Village resident replied: “Officer, consequences done happen me nuh have nothing else to say Me go just hire a lawyer.”
He told the court, as he attempted to mount his own mitigation, that he had shared certain information with the police which he was unwilling to divulge in open court.
Chief Magistrate Browne then asked whether he was reconsidering his plea but his response was unclear. She chose to stand the matter down for a while. During that time Cornwall was able to secure the services of defense attorney Grant Connell who mitigated on his behalf.
Connell summoned local ballistics expert Station Sgt. Julian Cain and sought to ascertain the original owner of the gun.
Station Sgt. Cain claimed to “have no knowledge” as to whether or not a firearm with the serial number LNL 271 belonged to the Royal SVG Police Force. He also denied knowing whether or not police-held weapons are registered as a batch.
The long-serving lawman also denied knowing who would have the record of LNL 271 and who it was “allocated to”.
It is not yet known whether or not the Glock 22 pistol in question was stolen or woefully misplaced by the officer who was charged with its care.
The prosecution did not bring any charges of theft or for handling stolen goods against the 38-year-old carpenter.
Connell, even as he walked away from the bar table, engaged the Chief Magistrate in a brief exchange. He pointed her attention to the similarity in the registration codes to the same guns that formed part of the evidence against the four men who are accused of stealing and or receiving stolen weapons from the armory located at the Georgetown precinct.
The Chief Magistrate imposed two years and an 8-month jail sentence on Avi King, who had pled guilty to all but one of the missing guns offenses. To date, she has recused herself from the other trials.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police, Colin John, told us that the gun “was once in police custody.” When pressed, he clarified, “it was once owned by the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.”
The top cop did not confirm or deny allegations that the sidearm may have been issued to a Special Services Unit assigned officer.
“The police have a duty to the State. If firearms belonging to the police are on the road and no one is told – that’s a bit disturbing,” Connell later told ANN