Police Constable Tito Benons, who was charged in April with having an unlicensed gun, continued to lead his defence yesterday by calling two witnesses who vouched that he was on his way to lodge the firearm at a police station when he was intercepted by police.
The two witnesses, Shakeem Carryl, who is a cousin of Benons, and Roland Williams, a friend of Carryl, yesterday testified on behalf of the accused in the city court of Magistrate Fabayo Azore.
Benons, who is attached to the Anti-Crime Unit in Berbice, was charged with having in his possession a Smith and Wesson 9 mm pistol and 15 rounds of matching ammunition on March 26, at Norton Street and Louisa Row.
The rank, who is unrepresented, has been on remand since he was charged.
Both Carryl, a private in the army, and Williams told the court that on the day in question while they were riding along Cemetery Road, Benons spotted what appeared to be a gun. According to Carryl, his cousin stopped them and went into the corner of the road and retrieved the gun. He said Benons told him and Williams that he should go and lodge the gun at Brickdam Police Station. They said while en route to the police station, they were stopped by three policemen, who told them to dismount from their motorbikes.
Williams said that they complied and as the police searched them, Benons produced the gun and told the other officers that he too was a policeman and he had found a gun and was going to the Brickdam Police Station to lodge it. According to Williams and Carryl, an officer by the name of George did not believe that Benons was a policeman although the other ranks who were with him said that he was. “Benons went to the senior officer and identified himself as Constable Benons,” Carryl said, adding, “The officer then snatched the firearm, chucked Benons and said that he is not police, he is a thief.”
When Williams took the stand, he echoed Carryl’s testimony. However, when Carryl was asked under cross-examination by Inspector Stephen Telford if the road they found the gun on had “heavy traffic,” his response conflicted with that of Williams. Moreover, when asked by the Inspector why Benons did not lodge the gun at the nearest police station, which is the East Ruimveldt Outpost, Williams said he just went with the flow since Benons is a policeman.
In closing his defence, Benons told the magistrate that he knew the seriousness of having a firearm and that he would not have one in his possession. “I have found firearms on several occasions while in my uniform and out of uniform. On the day in question, I did find a firearm and I was taking it to Brickdam,” Benons told the court.
The accused added that he has never been charged before, was never in a gang nor did he engage in any criminal activity.
Magistrate Azore subsequently adjourned the matter until July 8 for decision.