By Monique Washington
A 2014 gun and firearms possession charge handed to Caldre Chapman will return to court next year after he requested to seek legal counsel before proceeding.
Chapman appeared before Magistrate Yasmine Clarke on Tuesday at the Magistrate Court in Charlestown to answer to several charges of importation of a firearm and ammunition and evading customs. Chapman’s case was set to be heard earlier in the year but at the time he was not on island. His sureties appeared and explained to Magistrate Clarke that Chapman was working overseas. The Magistrate warned the sureties to have Chapman back on island by a November or they will be asked to pay $30,000, theamount in bail,or be sent to prison.
Chapman,whose case was last on the list of cases to be heard, told the court that he needed to seek legal representation and it would take him some time. Police Prosecutor Inspector Erita Percival gave no objections and requested the earliest date in January. Magistrate Clarke set a court date for January 10, 2017. Chapman has two choices: having his case heard by the Magistrate Court and being judgedsolely by the Magistrate and abiding by that decision; orhe can choose to face the High Court and be judged by a 12-member-jury of his peers.
In a similar case two weeks earlier, Shantez Mintos who faced similar gun possession charges, pled not guilty at the November sitting of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Nevis Circuit Criminal Assizes. Mintos was represented by defense attorneys Chesley Hamilton and Mickia Mills. After two-days of testimony a 12-member jury of eight women and four men failedto reach an unanimousdecision resulting in a hung jury.
Mintos will face a 12-member jury again in upcoming High Court Criminal Assizes.