Fifty-year-old Joshua Lavinier of Fortune, represented by Wayne Norde, was brought before Magistrate Michael Laudat on Monday, 12th June, 2023 for suspicion of Possession of a Firearm without a valid license, Possession of Ammunition without a valid license and Drug Trafficking of Cannabis.
On Friday, 9th June, 2023, members of the Drug Squad and Anti-Crime Task Force, armed with a search warrant, went on duty at the home of Fifty-Year-Old Joshua Lavinier of Fortune.
The team arrived on the premises of Lavinier at 8:30 am and informed him of the search warrant.
A female officer entered a building on the premises to begin the search. Prior to the search’s commencement, the Fortune man was asked whether he had any firearm, ammunition or illegal drugs on the premises, to which he responded, “I have a gun in the safe there. It belonged to my father, he died in 2012. So I put it there for safe keeping.”
The officer was provided a key which she used to open the aforementioned safe. A black bag containing two pistols without magazines attached and a small ziplock bag containing a number of rounds of ammunition and two loaded magazines. When asked, Lavinier confirmed he was not a holder of a valid firearm and ammunition license.
Lavinier was then informed that he was under arrest for suspicion of possession of firearms and ammunition. After being cautioned, he stated, “My father was sick and he give it to me. I put it away from the children; I didn’t know you had to bring it in. I don’t know the history of the gun.”
The search progressed to a storeroom on the premises. Joshua Lavinier was once again asked whether he had any firearm, ammunition or illegal drugs on the premises, to which he responded, “I have two containers in the back with dried cannabis.”
The female officer was then led to the area which he stated he had he cannabis; she found two plastic containers, respectively covered with pink and green tops, each containing a quantity of alleged cannabis. After being cautioned, Joshua was asked the reason for having such a quantity of marijuana in his possession to which his reply was, “My wife has some leg pain so I decide I was going to process some oil so she could rub with it.”
The search continued but nothing else liable for seizure was found.
The Fortune man was subsequently brought to the Drug Squad Office at the Police Headquarters. There, the total sum of the cannabis was weighed and it was discovered to be a total of six hundred and forty-four grams (644g). The two pistols were then thoroughly inspected. One magazine contained five rounds of 7.65mm ammunition and one round of .25mm ammunition was found in the other; it was confirmed that the magazines fit into the respective guns.The ammunition was counted in the presence of Lavinier and it was found that there was a total of of thirty-eight (38) rounds: thirty-two (32) 7.65 mm rounds, four (4) .32mm rounds and two (2) .25mm rounds of ammunition. An inquiry was then made at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to confirm whether either Lavinier or his deceased father were holders of a firearm license; a check of records revealed that neither were holders of a firearm license.
Norde, also stated that the reports from the experts revealed the firearms ineffectiveness as they were ‘sluggish in operation’ and were unable to discharge ammunition. It was acknowledged that the living Lavinier man had ‘passive possession’ for over twelve years. In relation to the Cannabis, Norde bravely requested to have Joshua Lavinier reprimanded and discharged.Norde stated he, Lavinier, was going to use the cannabis to make oil to assist his ailing wife and he had no inclination to use it but for the medicinal use for his wife.
In handing down the sentence, the fact that this was his first offense, he plead guilty at the first
opportunity and did not subject the Court to a protracted trial and also his overall cooperation was taken into account. The Court also paid attention to the findings of the Forensic Firearm
Examination Report as it pertains to the conditions of the firearms. It was also taken into consideration that ignorance of the law is not a reason to become deviant so as to add to the problems being now encountered in our communities and the impact that it is having on civil society.
Joshua Lavinier was fined $7,500.00 for Possession of a Firearm without a valid license, which was to be paid by September 30th, 2023 or in default 6 months imprisonment; no separate sentence was given for the second firearm. Both weapons were forfeited to the state.
He was then fined $3,500.00 for Possession of Ammunition without a valid license, which was to be paid by November 30th, 2023 or in default 6 months imprisonment; no separate sentence was given for the second magazine.
He was also fined $3,000.00 for Possession of Ammunition without a valid license to be paid by April 30th, 2024 or in default 6 months imprisonment. All ammunition was forfeited to the state.
He was lastly fined $25,000.00 for Possession of Cannabis to be paid by December 31st, 2024 or in default 6 months imprisonment; the cannabis was forfeited to the state.