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Shooting victim fined $15,000 for loaded gun
A construction worker who got a gun to protect himself after the police failed to arrest the people who shot at him last year was slapped with a $15,000 fine yesterday.
Xavier Lewis, 20, pleaded guilty while his two co-accused Rafael Sandiford and Matthew Indarsingh, pleaded not guilty and were each fined $100,000 approval bail.
They were also granted a cash bail alternative of $65,000 by San Fernando Second Court Magistrate Margaret Alert.
Lewis and two other men were arrested by PC Beckles and other officers on Thursday around 9.30 pm in the pavilion at Chapman Park Recreation Ground, Hermitage Village.
Relating what happened, prosecutor Sgt Denzil Alexander said the men were looking at a gun about two feet away from them when the police called out to them and they ran off.
The police gave chase and held them a short distance away. When Beckles examined the gun he found three bullets in the chamber.
Defence attorney Chantal Paul explained that late last year Lewis was shot at on more than one occasion by people in his community and he reported incidents to the police, but nothing was done. “So he got the gun for his own protection,” said Paul who added he had no history of violence and regrets making such a stupid decision.
She said Lewis lives with his aunt and uncle because his mother died when he was ten-years -old and his father is not in his life. She said Lewis has a one-year-old child and a previous conviction for marijuana possession.
Magistrate Alert told him he should be thankful to PC Beckles because he saved him from a worse fate. She said he may have been prompted to use the gun as a form of retaliation and may have found himself on a murder charge. “A gun gives you a false sense of power,” said the magistrate. Although he may have been frustrated by the police lack of action, she told him that is not the way to go. He was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for the gun and and a $5,000 fine for the ammunition in 90 days. Failure to pay the fines will result in him serving 18 months and nine months respectively in jail. His co-accused will reappear in court on April 10.