Bartica man with guns ‘to protect family’ jailed for four years

A man who admitted  to being in possession of two firearms and a quantity of ammunition without being the owner of a firearm licence  was sentenced to four years imprisonment while his reputed wife who was also charged for the same offences was remanded to prison yesterday when they appeared before Magistrate Hazel Octive-Hamilton at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court.

Carlos Gonsalves pleaded guilty to the charges of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition while his reputed wife Annette Torrez, 47, of 1 ½ Mile, Bartica pleaded not guilty to similar charges.

It is alleged that on March 4 at Essequibo, Gonsalves and Torrez had in their possession two pistols and 20 live rounds of ammunition without being the owner of a valid firearm licence.

Torrez’s lawyer applied for bail for her on the grounds that Gonsalves had accepted the blame for the firearms and ammunition. The lawyer noted that neither the firearms nor the ammunition was found in Torrez’s possession and  even though she might have known that they belonged to Gonsalves, that did not mean that they were in her possession. The lawyer further stated that because Gonsalves had pleaded guilty to the charges, Torrez should then be granted bail.

Meanwhile, Gonsalves stated that “I buy de gun to protect myself.” He said that he had bought them from some Brazilians because there were several robberies in his community which had prompted him to purchase them to protect himself and his family.

He pleaded for the magistrate to exhibit mercy and discretion in his sentencing.

The magistrate subsequently ordered that Gonsalves pay a court fine of $150,000 and serve four years imprisonment.  She then ordered that Torrez be remanded to prison and transferred the case to the Bartica Magistrate’s Court for March 17.

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