Case Caption: Akil H. Nibbs v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2017-0073Date: 09/10/2020Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: 2020 VI 18Summary: Convictions for third degree assault, unauthorized use of firearm in commission of a crime of violence, and unauthorized possession of a firearm, are affirmed. Language in the third degree assault statute, 14 V.I.C. § 297(a), making it applicable in circumstances not amounting to an assault in the first or second degree, does not establish an additional element, but rather constitutes a condition precedent to the Superior Court’s application of the sentencing range prescribed for the third degree offense. The evidence presented was sufficient for all charges. There is no merit to the claim that the gun used in this case was inoperable, and even an inoperable gun (or one that does not meet the statutory definition of a firearm) can be the basis for a conviction of assault with a deadly weapon or unauthorized possession of a firearm during a crime of violence under 14 V.I.C. § 2253(a). Here the test-firing evidence was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the weapons were capable of discharging ammunition by means of gas generated from an explosive composition, as provided in the statute. The Superior Court here instructed the jury as to the definition of a firearm under the statute, and the evidence provided was sufficient for them to find the defendant guilty accordingly. The August 17, 2017 judgment and commitment for the three convictions is affirmed.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion