Gunman’s sentence cut on appeal but conviction upheld

| 03/08/2022 | 10 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal has reduced a sentence of five years and ten months down to five years following a partially successful appeal by Kurt Stephenson Carter (32), who is serving time for the possession of an imitation firearm with intent. Carter was caught on CCTV showing off and firing the weapon outside a George Town bar more than two and a half years ago.

Although he had pleaded guilty, he had appealed his conviction, claiming that the judge had misinterpreted the basis of his guilty plea. But the court dismissed that application, noting that a conviction based on a guilty plea could not be unsafe since he had admitted having an imitation firearm and was seen with it on video.

But in their judgment, which was read by Justice Cheryll Richards during a special session of the higher court on Wednesday, the judges found that the sentence delivered in 2021 was excessive and reduced it by ten months.

While CCTV footage clearly showed Carter with the gun as well as flashes from the barrel when he fired it, the police never recovered the actual weapon. He was therefore charged for possession of an imitation weapon, which carries a lesser sentence than the mandatory minimum of seven years for a guilty plea for gun possession.

The judge who handed down Carter’s sentence had stressed how very realistic the weapon appeared to be. In the CCTV footage, he was seen raising it and shooting into the air outside Bananas bar on Eastern Avenue in the early hours of 30 December 2019, and whatever it was loaded with had resulted in the flashes.

This evidence, together with his long list of previous convictions, including one he was on probation for at the time, led the judge to hand down the relatively long term for the offence.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculous! Institute an additional charge (with 25 year penalty!) on these LOSERS that won’t surrender the firearm in cases like this! If these judges don’t clamp down HARD on these dregs of society, we are royally screwed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Innocent till proven guilty not the other way around

  3. Anonymous says:

    They obviously don’t know this guy, more not less time guys. A true miscreant.

    • Anonymous says:

      When he shows up at your doorstep you will understand. Some people are beyond rehabilitation.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If it wasn’t real, it would not flash when firing! I understand the stupid law but it needs to be amended now. Perhaps our legislators can get off their @$$es, drag themselves into Parliament and amend it? Judges also getting softer on gun crime, so that discretion needs to be revoked as part of the amendment!

    Serious crime increasing and penalties decreasing – see anything wrong with that picture?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why would they do this? How can it be excessive when he will be out in way less than 5 years. Seems the courts are part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

  6. Anonymous says:

    In these situations, all firearms that are not recovered should be treated as being real firearms and get the maximum sentence- then offer the discounted sentence only if these gangsters turn in the firearm or give police its whereabouts!

  7. Two Cents says:

    Clearly it is time to address this anomaly in the legislation.
    A firearm that is not recovered should not be classified as an ‘imitation firearm’, simply because there is not way of proving that it was a ‘real firearm’. The legislation needs to recognise an ‘unrecovered firearm’ and such a weapon should attract a higher penalty than that for a ‘real firearm’ that has been recovered and is off the street.
    A firearm that is still in circulation is obviously more of a risk to the community than one that has been recovered. The penalty needs to incentivise giving it up, not coming up with excuses for why they don’t have it anymore.

    • Anonymous says:

      My thoughts entirely. It should be treated as a real firearm unless and until it is proven to be an imitation. Then maybe you’ll see the perp tell the police where to find it. BTW, replicas can be converted into working weapons.

      So what kind of imitation was it, this gun that actually fired cartridges? A starter pistol?

    • Anonymous says:

      Calling it an imitation firearm trivializes the the whole matter. The evidence produced in this case should be sufficient to call it a firearm, and the definition should be broad enough to include it. If it was only a water pistol, let the defendant show that. The 10 month reduction of sentence further trivializes the trial judges role, the perp’s criminal history, and the fact that he was on probation at the time. “Putting this guy away” as long as possible was an important public interest that the appeal court did not serve. A big FAIL.


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