Stiffer penalties and higher fines will be facing offenders when the Firearms (Amendment) Act 2022 comes into effect on January 1, 2023.
Fines as high as $100 000 as well as consecutive sentences are among the measures Government has put in place to try to deter gun-related activity.
To date, Barbados has recorded 43 murders, the majority of which were by firearm.
According to Section 29(2) of the Act, “a person who aids, abets, counsels or procures another or conspires with another to commit an offence under this Act, is guilty of an offence and is liable to the same punishment as is provided for that offence”.
Under Section 30, the penalties for offences under Sections 3(9), 7(3) or 29(1) shall for a first offence carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison, and for a second offence carry a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. In the case of a first-time offender, the court has the option to impose a fine of $100 000 in addition to the term of imprisonment. Also, the judge has the discretion to vary the mandatory sentence for first-time offenders in limited conditions and exceptional circumstances.
Section 30B stipulates that any sentence of imprisonment for an indictable offence under the Act shall be served consecutively to any other sentence arising out of the same offence, or to any other sentence that the offender is subject to at the time of sentencing.
In other words, the sentence for an indictable offence under this Act shall be added to and not run concurrently with any other sentence to which the offender is liable. This is subject to variation by the judge only in very limited conditions, and where there are exceptional circumstances.