|Nine gun court cases completed last week|
NG Senior Reporter
Published: Aug 02, 2011
The court tasked with dealing expeditiously with firearms cases completed nine cases last week, The Nassau Guardian can reveal. Government re-established a gun court to address the problem of illegal firearm possession. Despite restrictive gun laws, firearms can be obtained with relative ease.
Just this year, police seized 255 firearms, although fewer than 100 persons possess special permits to carry handguns.
Last week, Gun Court Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt convicted seven offenders, acquitted one due to lack of evidence and committed a possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life case to the Supreme Court.
Up to July 21, police had put 86 persons before the court and 34 of them were convicted.
The case of Derek Adderley was a testament to the court’s commitment to resolving cases quickly. His gun case had lingered in the system for more than two years, but it was concluded within months of being transferred to the Gun Court.
Police arrested Derek Adderley at the Blue Hills sporting field on November 27, 2008. There was no movement in the case until it was transferred to the court in May 2011.
Ferguson-Pratt on Thursday acquitted Adderley of unauthorized possession of a 9mm pistol because a lack of evidence, noting that she was troubled about the length of time it took for the case to be resolved.
Guns continue to be the weapon of choice in murder cases. More than 70 percent of the murders committed this year have involved illegal firearms.
Over the past five-and-a-half years gun-related homicides have increased in The Bahamas.
According to police statistics, in 2010 guns were used in 69 of the 94 murders recorded (73 percent).
In 2006 through 2009, gun use in homicides ranged between 55 percent and 64 percent.