GDF hangs rank accused of stealing firearm out to dry

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The accused: Devon Harris. [iNews' Photo]
The accused: Devon Harris. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Defence Force in a release on Thursday (January 9) refuted claims made by Attorney – at – Law Patrice Henry, who represented Lance Corporal Devon Harris.

Harris was accused of stealing a pistol from the Force’s arms store at Base Camp Stevenson. In defense of her client, the lawyer had told the Court that the culture of the arms stored at the facility, allowed Harris to carry guns. The GDF says the accusation is entirely without merit.

According to the statement, the “Guyana Defence Force Security Standing Orders, set out very clearly, the procedures to be followed by its Armstores personnel with regard to the issuance of the Force’s weapons. These Orders expressly permit GDF Officers and Ranks to be in possession of its weapons only in the execution of their military duty.”

The GDF therefore maintains that as an arm store personnel, Lance Corporal Harris could not have issued to himself, any weapon from the Force’s Armstore, since this would be in direct contravention of the Security Standing Orders; nor was he permitted to have a weapon in his possession when not on military duty.

“It is instructive to note that an authority to issue document has to be signed by the Commanding Officer, for a weapon to be issued to any rank,” the GDF noted.

The Force categorically stated in the release that there has never been nor currently is a “culture” within its administration and operations that facilitates, encourages or allows for, any of its members to be in unlawful possession of the Force’s weapons or ammunition.

The 34– year – old Lance Corporal of Friendship, East Bank Demerara pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared in Court. It is alleged that between December 27 and January 4 at Base Camp Stevenson, Timehri he stole one fabric national pistol number 75C61408 valued at $35,000.

He also denied the second charge which alleged that on the same day at Friendship, East Bank Demerara, he had in his possession one Fabric national pistol number 75C61408, when he was not a holder of a firearm license.

 

His lawyer had told the Court then that he has in excess of 12 years of service with the GDF and argued that from the time his client has been working in the arms store, he had the firearm in his possession.

Police Prosecutor Bharrat Mangru had said then too that Harris is not authorized to have any firearm in his possession while off duty. The Prosecutor successfully opposed bail. The matter was transferred to Providence Magistrates’ Court for January 13.

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