Teenager on trial over gun

| 23/09/2009

(CNS): The Grand Court trial of nineteen year old Jason Hatch began this morning when the prosecution told the jury that Hatch was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition as a result of the discovery of 9 millimetre semi-automatic weapon with a magazine of live rounds and one round of ammunition from another type of gun in his bedroom at a George Town address. Hatch, who was only 17 at the time, had been arrested earlier that morning before the gun was found as a result of an investigation into counterfeit currency by the Financial Crimes Unit.

Acting for the prosecution, Trisha Hutchison told the court that the defendant was charged with two counts which related to the discovery by police of the nine millimetre gun and ammunition which was found under a dresser in the bedroom of his rented apartment and a bullet for another type of weapon that was found under his mattress.

The jury of six women and one man heard that Hatch had gone with police from George Town Police Station to his place of residence at around 6:50am on 6 October 2007. Police had acquired a warrant to search Hatch’s apartment following his arrest earlier that morning.

Police witnesses told the court, presided over by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, how they had arrived at the apartment and found two other men present — Gordon Ebanks and Samuel Bodden. Both those men had reportedly said that they did not live at the address but had been staying there overnight. Sgt Montague told the court that Ebanks had insisted on leaving as he said he had to meet someone and was going fishing but Bodden was asked to remain while police conducted a search of the apartment.

During the search of the bedroom police said that as they approached the dresser Hatch had tried to distract the officers by indicating an attic inside a cupboard just outside the bedroom that they might want to search. However, officers continued with their search of the bedroom and, having found one round of ammunition under the mattress, they moved on to the dresser, which was where they then found a black box underneath the set of drawers. Officer Sgt Groves was said to have then opened the box in front of the defendant and after removing a layer of black plastic he discovered the hand gun.

Both Hatch and Bodden were then arrested and taken back to the central police station police witnesses told the court.

Cross examining Sgt Montague, defence attorney for the teenage Hatch, Ben Tonner, asked how long the defendant had been in police custody before going to his apartment. Montague said that he came on duty at 2:00am and Hatch had already been in custody for sometime before that. Tonner then clarified that this meant Hatch had not been at the apartment to supervise the other two men who were there, and Montague agreed. He also acknowledged that although Bodden was arrested he had not been charged, and Ebanks, who had gone as the police arrived, had not been charged in connection with the offence either. Tonner also asked the officer if he knew that Hatch was only 17 at the time, and Montague said he did not.

The trial, which is taking place in court five, was adjourned on Wednesday afternoon and will resume on Thursday.

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