By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A 35-year-old man was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday after pleading guilty to two firearm charges stemming from the seizure of a high-powered weapon over the weekend.
Gerald Forrester, of Gun Hill Road, received his sentence from Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt in connection with the seizure of an AK-47 assault rifle and almost 20 rounds of ammunition on Victoria Avenue on January 28.
Forrester, along with 30-year-old Loubens Moricette and 30-year-old Cathy Turnquest each faced one count of possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of ammunition.
However, the Crown withdrew the charges against Ms Turnquest, while Moricette, who pleaded not guilty to both charges, had his trial date set for June 18.
It is alleged that on January 18, being concerned together, the three were found in possession of a black AK-47 7.62 millimetre assault rifle, as well as 17 unfired rounds of ammunition.
According to initial police reports, shortly before 4am on the day in question, officers from the Anti-Gang and Firearms Unit along with officers from the Rapid Response Unit acting on information while at Victoria Avenue, conducted a search of a 2015 Kia Sportage and recovered a black AK-47 machine gun and 17 rounds of ammunition.
The three suspects were subsequently taken into custody.
Prior to sentencing Forrester, Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt noted that his possession of what she called a "very serious firearm" is "no light matter," and that his sentence should this "send a very clear message" that his actions were "unacceptable".
She said though there were several factors in his favour, that he is a young man who had never been in trouble with the law previously, and that he admitted the offene in court, a custodial sentence would be appropriate.
She said the maximum of seven years was not worthy in the circumstances, thus sentencing Forrester to three years on each count at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDCS) to run concurrently.