Flare gun was real weapon

| 18/02/2013

Flare gun.JPG(CNS): Having been caught by police with a modified flare gun in his possession, a 24-year-old man is now facing a minimum of ten years behind bars after a jury found the weapon was real enough to be classified as a firearm.  Marcus Steve Manderson was found guilty on Friday afternoon of possession of an unlicensed firearm by a jury of five men and two women. Although there was no evidence that the gun had been fired or used in any crimes, the jury found that the gun was capable of firing a conventional bullet and seriously wounding or killing someone. Manderson had denied not only possessing the weapon but had also argued, through his attorney, that the weapon found by police was not a lethal barrelled weapon.

During the trial, however, the jury heard that with certain modifications an officer from the RCIPS Firearms Unit was able to fire a bullet from the gun in a test situation. Two expert firearms witnesses disagreed over the capability of the weapon firing when it was recovered by police. The crown’s expert, Alan Greenspan, had said the weapon was capable of killing someone, while the defence expert, Philip Boyce, disagreed, stating that it was not, leaving the jury to decide for themselves.

The weapon was recovered by officers from the RCIPS in the early hours of 5 February last year in Windsor Park. Manderson was spotted by USGofficers on patrol and when they called to him to stop he ran off. The police gave chase and two officers watched the young man throw a dark object into a yard before they caught up with him after he fell.

Once he was on the ground, the officers cuffed Manderson and led him back to the place where he had thrown what they believed to be a gun over a fence. A few minutes later a search of the area recovered the modified flare gun.

Manderson had denied having the weapon in his possession, having stated that he had thrown a spliff over the fence as he ran way, not from police but from another man who was armed with a gun. Manderson claimed that just before the police turned up he had been trying to stop an argument at a party between two other men, one of whom was armed and it was him that he was running from. The story of another man with a gun was supported by evidence given by an unnamed witness on behalf of Manderson, who cannot be named.

DNA evidence, which was found to be a match for Manderson on two parts of the gun, that the defence argued may have been transferred to the weapon during the arrest and subsequent discovery of the gun.

Manderson also accused the officers in the case of hassling him earlier in the evening for money. The defendant had claimed that two of the police officers had given him weed to sell earlier that week that had come from the police station. Manderson said that the officers wanted money from him for the weed, however he said he had not sold it but had smoked it and as a result they were angry at him and wanted cash.

Following the verdict, the judge had emphasised that there was no evidence to support the allegations against the officers and that they had emphatically denied such a suggestion. The judge ordered a social enquiry report before remanding Manderson in custody to HMP Northward ahead of his sentencing set for 4 April. The mandatory minimum sentence following a trial for possession of an unlicensed firearm is ten years.

While a judge may find aggravating circumstances to increase that sentence, it is only under very exceptional circumstances that a member of the bench may use their discretion to reduce the sentence. While Manderson has no previous convictions for violence or weapons-related offences, he will be facing a decade behind bars.

Category: Crime

Comments (5)

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  1. Pink Panther says:

    We have run out of patience, so we support zero tolerance.

    Those of you who want to keep a gun in your house, there are several flights leaving for America daily. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now if only they could arrest the politicians/business persons involved in corrupt, white collar crime and enforcing (legislating first, take this one on Alden and S Bulgin??) a 10-15 year minimum sentence, we'd all be much better off.

  3. True, True says:

    There are not and have never been any gangs in Cayman

  4. Anonymous says:

    A great precedent.

     

    There is no reason to have an unlicensed firearm of any kind.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good. Slap the senstence on him. You wanna play 'gangster', take gangster time behind bars. They need to lock all of these little fools up. Pull up your pants, brush your damn hair and go get a job. 'Gangster' is out of style.