Prison officer’s weapons conviction overturned

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A prison officer who was fined and sent to jail on firearm and ammunition charges in 2008 has had his conviction overturned in the Court of Appeal today.

Garfield Morrison was fined $12,000 and jailed for 12 months by then Chief Magistrate, Ivan Walters, who conducted the trial in the St. John’s Magistrates court.

Officers from the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) had discovered a gun and ammunition buried in the yard of Morrison’s home in Swetes village.

The man and a co-accused were arrested for the offence and during trial the co-accused testified the illegal items belonged to her.

However, she also told the court she had shown the items to Morrison who decided to bury them in the yard.

An initial appeal was filed in 2010 outlining nine grounds for the conviction to be quashed.

However, the case was recently handed over to attorney, Warren Cassell who filed a motion in February to add a new ground.

The new ground argued the Magistrate, who was stationed in the Magisterial District A, had no jurisdiction to try the case for the offence that was alleged to have been committed in Swetes, which is in District B.

Considering a previous decision handed down by the Court of Appeal in the 1996 case of Watkins v Commissioner of Police, Director of Public Prosecutions, Anthony Armstrong agreed with the ground and did not challenge the appeal. 

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