2nd acquittal in gun case
(CNS): A man accused of possession of an unlicensed firearm after traces of DNA which could have included him were found on a handgun recovered from outside a nightclub has been acquitted. Frederick Booth was found not guilty by Justice Carol Beswick on Thursday after a judge alone trial that concluded this week. The judge said that in this case she could not be sure that the defendant had custody or control of the weapon at the time of the gun’s discovery as there was insufficient evidence. Earlier in the week the judge dismissed the crown’s case against Booth’s co-defendant in connection with the same weapon.
In handing down her verdict, the acting judge said she was “acutely aware” of the concerns in the community regarding the number of firearms in the hands of a few individuals who were “brazenly engaged in anti-social behaviour” and that the court had to serve as both a deterrent and a way of sending a message that this criminal behaviour would not be tolerated and such crimes carried consequences. But, justice Beswick said, the court could not succumb to the temptation of making decisions based on suspicions.
The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that an offender was guilty.
She said there was no direct evidence that the defendant was in possession of the gun on the night the weapon was discovered,
Booth had been charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and was facing the possibility of a mandatory ten year jail sentence had the young man been found guilty. However, the only evidence against him was a mixed profile which the prosecution claimed included Booth’s DNA found on four places on the weapon and the fact that Booth was nearby when the .44 Ruger revolver was discovered in bushes near the LI nightclub car park in March 2010 by USG officers.
There was another DNA profile on the weapon that had a far greater match probability. That more significant profile belongs to another individual known to the police but because that man was not around when the officers recovered the handgun he was never charged in connection with the weapon.
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