BELIZE CITY–A Belize City man was convicted of keeping a prohibited firearm and ammunition and was sentenced to two 5-year prison terms but will spend only 5 years behind bars because his sentences are to run concurrently.
Raphael Usher, 24, a laborer and resident of Arlington Drive, located in the Port Loyola area, was found guilty of keeping a prohibited 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun and two 12-gauge cartridges when his case concluded before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer this morning.
On June 3, 2011, Usher was busted with a sawed-off shotgun and two cartridges. One of the cartridges was loaded in the shotgun and the other was found in one of the pockets of Usher’s pants.
The bust was made by PC Paul Phillips, who is attached to the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU).
Court prosecutor, Inspector Hector Rodriguez, called three GSU officers to testify.
The witnesses included Phillips, the arresting officer, PC Abner Itza, who was present when the bust was made and Sergeant Samuel Gladden, who at the time of the arrest was attached to the GSU, and who sent the shotgun for analysis at the National Forensic Lab.
After the prosecution closed its case yesterday, Thursday, Usher took the witness stand and gave sworn testimony.
In his narrative of the incident, Usher told the court that he was at home when he got a call from his girlfriend, who wanted to know if he would still come to pick her up on his bicycle.
Usher said that he passed on Central American Boulevard where there was a murder earlier, before he had left his home.
While on Gill Street, Usher told the court, he met some friends and one of the men asked him to go to the shop to make a purchase for them.
It was when he went to a shop to make the purchase, he said, that he saw the GSU officers in their truck.
“After I saw the GSU truck, they stopped me and conducted a search of me. When I reached a yard on Gill Street, the police handcuffed me and they proceeded to search the yard, where they found the gun,” Usher testified.
In cross-examination, however, the prosecutor laid out another scenario to him — that the gun was found in his pocket along with one of the two cartridges.
Usher told the court that he is not a troublemaker and if he had a gun in his pocket, he would have run when he saw the police.