Man accused of committing voting breach with firearm freed of charges | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

A 56-year-old tanker driver, Ian Walters, who was accused of committing a breach when he carried his licensed firearm within a polling station and also failed to hand over the weapon upon the lawful request of a police officer was on Wednesday freed of all charges when he appeared in the St Catherine Parish Court.

Allegations are that on September 3, 2020, General Election Day, Walters was in the vicinity of a Polling Station at the Holiness Temple Basic School in St Catherine.

Walters who was directed to join a line to cast his vote was observed having a bulge in his waistband.

Upon inquiry by the police, it was revealed that it was his firearm. Walters was asked to produce his firearm for inspection but refused, however, he subsequently handed it over upon the third request of the police.

It was revealed to Walters that he was in breach of the Firearms Act which prohibited him from having his firearm at such a location.

However, in court, his attorney-at-law Peter Champagnie submitted that neither offences had been made out. Mr. Champagnie argued that the legislation exempted persons like Walters who were about their lawful business to cast their vote.

It was pointed out that at the time, Walters had been directed to join the line by the police to cast his vote when the discovery was made.

In relation to the charge of failing to hand over his firearm, it was submitted that he did in fact hand it over albeit on the third request.

Champagnie, therefore, suggested that there was no failure to hand over the firearm. As a consequence, having outlined its case, the Prosecution withdrew the charges against Walters.

Champagnie also pointed out that in any event there was no evidence to suggest that his client was within one hundred meters of the Polling Station as was stipulated by law that would have given rise to any breach.