Saturday 14 December, 2019

FLA faces contempt of court charge in policeman gun case

The board of the Firearms Licensing Authority (FLA) is facing contempt of court proceedings stemming from a legal battle over claims that the board ignored a court order to return a weapon owned by claimant, Sancho Summerville, a policeman. 

"They did not comply with the order and now the court will lock up the entire board of the FLA. They were served with the summons today," attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman told Loop News reporter Claude Mills. 

Chief executive officer of the FLA, Shane Dalling, and board members Justice Marva McIntosh, Ena Rose, Aneica Neita, and Albert Edwards were listed as defendants on court documents obtained by Loop News.

Wildman, who is representing the claimant, said that he last appeared in court on Monday when he secured a September 19th court date for the contempt of court hearing.

"I am moving against them, I am not playing with them," Wildman said. 

The FLA had been fighting a legal challenge that it had breached a court order to return a policeman's weapon, but the board has argued that the court made no such order. Summerville's gun licence was  revoked by the FLA on April 25. As a result, Wildman filed a motion in late June in the Supreme Court against the FLA board, seeking the court's intervention to compel the FLA to return his client's firearm.

Court documents explain that on March 12, the claimant, Constable Sancho Summerville, went to renew his firearm licence when the gun was seized on grounds that adverse traces were detected.

Wildman subsequently made an application in the Supreme Court on April 8, for a judicial review to quash the FLA's decision and also for the FLA to return his client's firearm.

Following that hearing, Wildman reported that Justice Courtney Daye had given the FLA 45 days to return his client's weapon if there was no reason to hold on to the weapon.

But to date, Summerville is still without his firearm. 

Wildman believes that each member of the board of the Firearm Licensing Authority is personally liable for failing to comply with the order of Justice Daye and further pointed out that the authority had breached the court's order by revoking his firearm licence.

Additionally, the constable, in the affidavit also indicated that the FLA revoked his firearm licence without giving him any additional reason for its refusal to return the firearm. 

Efforts to get a comment from the FLA in regards to the September 19th court hearing proved futile. However,  a press release posted on its website earlier on April 10, denied the report suggesting that the judge had given the body 45 days to return Summerville's firearm.

“The FLA received information from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) that Constable Summerville was disarmed of his service weapon (s) and was not allowed to bear arms in the performance of his duties as a policeman or otherwise. This decision, the JCF stated, was in the public's interest. Based on that information, the FLA launched an investigation concerning the matter, completed the investigation and was in the process of making a decision. The Supreme Court did not order the FLA to return Constable Summerville's firearm to him.

“The order of the court was for the FLA to make a decision, based on the completed investigation within 45 days of the date of the court hearing,” the FLA said in the release.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: