Man takes back guilty plea in firearm possession case after prosecution admits error in identification

Man takes back guilty plea in firearm possession case after prosecution admits error in identification

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — One of three men arraigned yesterday for possession of a firearm changed his guilty plea in the Magistrate’s Court, after the prosecution advised the court that witness accounts of the arrest over the weekend identified “another defendant” as having concealed the weapon under his shirt when officers stopped them.

Trevor Laramore, 20, and Adrian Cleare, 30, both of Price Street; and Deangelo Moss, 30, of Harbour Island, were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt, who advised the men that they were charged with possession of a .40 Smith and Wesson firearm and two rounds of .40 ammunition.

Cleare and Moss pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Laramore, who was suffering from gallstones in court and was permitted to sit during the arraignment, pleaded guilty.

As the prosecutor summarized the Crown’s case, she said a team of officers on mobile patrol on Williams Street and Alexandria Boulevard around 8.20pm on August 14 observed a black Nissan Cube with registration SN5224 parked on the western side of the street, with three men inside acting suspiciously.

The prosecutor advised the court that the officers approached and ordered the men out of the vehicle, and the defendant from the passenger’s seat exited, concealing an object under his shirt.

The court heard that the officers instantly warned the defendant and following a search, the weapon and ammunition were discovered and the three men were detained.

A short while later, the prosecutor advised she wished to correct an error, indicating that Laramore was not the defendant named in the court reports as the man who was concealing the weapon, but another man along with him, who was named.

“That was not Laramore,” she said, though she noted that his guilty plea in court was consistent with his admission to police when interviewed.

Attorney Ian Jupp, who represented the three men, said the course of action of the Crown necessitated that he take further instruction from his clients, ultimately telling the court that the charges against Cleare and Moss were expected to be dropped after Laramore pleaded guilty.

After speaking to his clients, Jupp asked that the charge be read to Laramore again as he did not agree with the surmised account given by the prosecution.

He suggested to the court that the prosecution and officers had his clients “mixed up”, an assertion that the judge said was “presumptuous to make”.

When the charges were reread to Laramore, he pleaded not guilty.

On the matter of bail, Jupp explained that Laramore was due for surgery at Princess Margaret Hospital for gallstones, and Cleare and Moss both worked and had children, which required them to prepare for the reopening of schools.

The matter was adjourned to December 8, 2021.