Lynette Sommersell and David Cummings were charged with carrying an unlicensed firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition following a Nov. 3 traffic stop, Magistrate Khadeen Palmer granted them bail of $50,000 with one signed surety on Tuesday.
Ms. Sommersell, a 56-year-old Guyana native, was represented by attorney Stephen Daniels, and Mr. Cummings, a 44-year-old Jamaica native, was unrepresented.
After Ms. Palmer read the charges, Crown Counsel Jamal Bridgewater read the allegations. According to the prosecutor, at about 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 3, police officers on mobile patrol flashed their siren to try and stop a car that was proceeding slowly along Administration Drive, but the driver failed to comply.
When the vehicle eventually came to a stop, the officers identified the driver as Mr. Cummings and the passenger as Ms. Sommersell, Mr. Bridgewater alleged.
Both were cautioned and Mr. Cummings was searched, but when officers asked if there was anything illegal in his vehicle he responded that he had “a joint,” according to the prosecutor. “He was again asked if anything else was illegal in the vehicle, to which he responded ‘no,’” the Crown counsel read.
But after being asked to observe the officers’ search, Mr. Cummings tried to run away and was subsequently handcuffed, according to the prosecutor.
While removing items from the front passenger seat, one of the officers noticed the butt of a handgun, he added.
The pair were again both cautioned and informed that they were under arrest for keeping an unlicensed firearm, Mr. Bridgewater stated.
“The firearm was made safe, and eight rounds of explosives were counted in the presence … of the individuals,” the prosecutor read.
They were both taken into custody at the Road Town Police Station, and search warrants were executed on both of their residences the next day, though nothing illegal was found, Mr.Bridgewater stated.
During a cautioned interview, they both denied the allegations and denied any knowledge of a firearm in the vehicle, according to the Crown counsel.
While making an application for his client’s bail, Mr. Daniels said Ms. Sommersell is a married Guyana national with six children who has lived in the territory for 20 years and currently resides on Main Street.
Mr. Daniels also said she has no previous convictions and added, “On that fateful morning she was an innocent party taking a ride with our co-defendant.”
“She does not know anything about any firearm, … she has never seen a firearm, never held a firearm,” Mr. Daniels said.
He added that Ms. Sommersell has lived here 20 years and does not pose a flight risk.
Additionally, the court has granted bail in similar cases before, Mr. Daniels said.
Although Mr. Cummings was not represented, Ms. Palmer asked him questions before deciding whether or not to offer him bail.
In response to her questions, Mr. Cummings said he works in construction and has lived in the VI for more than 20 years.
He added that he has five children, one of whom lives in the territory.
Deciding that neither of the accused poses a flight risk, Ms. Palmer granted them both bail of $50,000 with one signed surety and the conditions that they surrender all travel documents and report to the Road Town Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6 a.m. and noon.
In an unrelated matter, Omari Roberts, 25, was charged with unlawful possession of ammunition after police uncovered three rounds during an Oct. 12 search in Palestina Estate, police stated last Thursday.