APPEAL DISMISSED: Man to serve just over five years for drugs and firearm possession

APPEAL DISMISSED: Man to serve just over five years for drugs and firearm possession
(FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A man who appealed his conviction for firearm and drug possession will serve out the remainder of his prison term after the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal, noting that the evidence presented before the trial judge supported the conviction.

Kenton Ferguson will serve five years and one month from the date of conviction.

The sentence imposed by the magistrate was varied to reflect the seven months the appellant spend on remand.

In May 2017, Sergeant McKenzie and Corporal Griffen saw a vehicle in Elizabeth Estates drive toward 27 Barbados Avenue, and the driver hand over a white and blue Super Value bag to a man before speeding away.

The officers performed a search of the residence and located the bag, which reportedly contained two clear plastic baggies; foil wraps containing marijuana; clear plastic bags with cocaine; three firearms; and ammunition.

The man who received the contraband and firearms was arrested.

According to court documents, the man told officers: “Kenton give me this and say ‘hold it.’”

Ferguson was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of drugs, firearms and ammunition.

At trial, the defense called on “Dontray”, the man who identified Ferguson, as a witness.

Ferguson denied all knowledge of the items in the bag and claimed that he had been in the Fox Hill area with a man named Christopher, and he had not seen Dontray on the day in question.

The magistrate rejected Ferguson’s alibi as not credible and questioned why he had not brought Christopher as his alibi witness.

He was convicted and sentenced to five years and eight months’ imprisonment.

He appealed the convictions and sentence on the ground that the magistrate could not have reached a conclusion of guilt on the basis that the prosecution failed to prove the case against him beyond a reasonable doubt and as a result, the conviction was “unsafe and unsatisfactory”.

Ferguson also claimed the judge wrongly allowed dock identification when no previous form of identification was conducted by the prosecutor, and that the sentence imposed was unduly severe.

The appellate court noted that McKenzie was not making a dock identification “in the true sense of the words” when he identified Ferguson in court, as he had testified that he was familiar with the appellant and had him under surveillance around one week before he observed the appellant hand over the blue and white bag.

“There is nothing to suggest that the chief magistrate’s acceptance of D/C 3543 MzKenzie’s evidence was so manifestly flawed that her assessment of it ought to be overturned,” read the ruling.

“There has been nothing disclosed from the record or on the submissions of the appellant to suggest that the chief magistrate has palpably misused her advantage of seeing the witnesses so as to cause me to find that her decision to convict the appellant was unreasonable.

“Further, I find that there was ample evidence before the chief magistrate upon which her decision to convict the appellant can be supported.”

As it relates to the sentence, the appellate court said it was not persuaded that the sentence imposed on the appellant for three firearms was unduly severe.

It said there was nothing that was disclosed in the ruling of the chief magistrate that showed she “somehow erred in principle when sentencing” Ferguson.

Court of Appeal Justices Jon Isaacs, Crane-Scott and Roy Jones ruled on the matter.

Attorney Barry Sawyer represented Ferguson.

Linda Evans appeared for the respondent, the commissioner of police.