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Career Cop faces long Years in Jail Print E-mail
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Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00

gino peck.jpg - 39.65 KbCareer police officer, 41 year-old Corporal Gino Peck, was found guilty of ammunition offences in the Magistrate’s Court on Monday, January 27. That’s a very unexpected and dramatic ending in Peck’s case, and the outcome is that his family’s financial stability is slowly crumbling.

On January 19, 2012, a little over two years ago, the Gang Suppression Unit raided the Peck family home where they found 8 live rounds of .45 ammunition – a prohibited item - in a chest of drawers in their room. Under their bed, the GSU found 2 knapsacks. In one of them, they found 23 live rounds of 9mm ammunition, 18 twelve-gauge cartridges. The other bag contained six rounds of 9mm ammunition, four .38 rounds and 3 more 12-gauge cartridges.

Because of the discovery, the GSU arrested and charged Gino and his wife, Loretta with keeping unlicensed ammunition, and keeping prohibited ammunition. The case caught the attention of the media when the Police Eastern Division refused to support the GSU on their action against one of their own, who they believed could easily be exonerated if the arresting officers would only look carefully at Peck’s reasons for having the ammunition. His defence remains – and has always been – that he got control of the items while on operations as a police officer.

There seemed to be deliberate foot-dragging at the Prosecution Branch which was in charge of lodging the charges at the Magistrate’s Court. Finally the court book went to court, and both Loretta and Gino Peck were arraigned, but on the next opportunity it was withdrawn against both of them. Unexpectedly, another court book was drawn up for Peck for 2 counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition, and 1 count of keeping prohibited ammunition; the prosecution indicated to the court that they would discontinue action against Loretta Peck, since it was clear that she didn’t know the items were illegal, and that Gino was not supposed to have it.

Gino Peck stood trial before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith with his attorney, Simeon Sampson, representing him while the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal prosecuted the case. Their defence was that Peck should be exempted from guilt within the Firearms Act because he was performing duties as a law enforcement officer, who needed to be ready in case there were other operations at a moment’s notice. He called Sergeant Randy Sanchez to testify on his behalf that normally, officers were allowed to take home high powered weapons to be ready for impromptu operations. Peck also had an explanation for every piece of ammunition in his possession. For the .45 rounds, he told the court that he got custody of them in a gang raid, and he had them labelled as found property. For the .38 ammunition, he told the court that he was assigned those back when the Police Department were issuing .38 firearms instead of 9mm pistols. For the 12-gauge cartridges, he said that he was given them when he was given authorization to use a shot gun for operations.

 In prosecuting the case, DPP Vidal showed the court that Peck should have handed in those .45 rounds a long time ago, if indeed they were found property, because that meant that they were evidence. Yet, it was found in his chest of drawers, as if he owned them. For the 12 gauge cartridges, Vidal showed the court that Peck should have handed in all those ammunitions because he was not on any operation, and that they are property of the state. He was also not using them in shooting practice, as is allowed by the Firearms Act. For the .38 ammunition, Vidal was able to prove that Peck should have handed those in a long time ago, because he was holding on to them, since the 1990’s when the police department stopped issuing .38 weapons to him.

After careful consideration of all the evidence, Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith found him guilty. She particularly commented that her opinion is that an officer should not be allowed to take home high-powered weapons for long periods of time.

Simeon Sampson asked the court to give Peck until Friday January 31, to prepare a mitigation plea on his behalf.

His wife and children have been completely blindsided by the guilty verdict, 3 out of the 5 Peck children are pursuing tertiary level education, but because the family will no longer be able to afford it, they may have to drop out of school. They also don’t accept the guilty verdict, and as soon as the sentencing hearing is complete, they intend to start the process for an appeal. Loretta Peck also told the media that Gino’s close friends and associates at the top level of the police department are also behind him, despite the conviction.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:52