The 25-year-old female from Horse Path, Tortola who was recently jointly charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition, pleaded not guilty to both charges and was granted bail.

Rhondella Guishard entered a not-guilty plea when she and her codefendant 42-year-old Rashon Lewis appeared virtually before Magistrate Tamia Richards on Tuesday.

Lewis, who is also charged with two counts of possession of a controlled drug and two counts of possession with intent to supply, was not required to enter a plea on the two joint charges.


The court heard that on Tuesday, August 30, officers from the Arm Response Unit of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) were on patrol along the Blackburn Highway in the vicinity of Hodge’s Creek when they observed a blue Kia Soul rental vehicle in the parking lot of the marina, facing the building with its rear lights on.

Officers said this prompted them to approach the vehicle to conduct inquiries after which they observed Lewis sitting in the driver’s seat and Guishard in the front passenger seat.

Upon conducting an interview with both individuals, the police indicated that they detected a strong scent of what they believed to be marijuana, which triggered a need to search the vehicle.

Police said Lewis was asked whether he had anything illegal within his possessions, stating that he replied he had a small quantity of marijuana that he pulled from his pockets and handed to them.

Lewis was then cautioned by officers to be placed under arrest, but the officers said he attempted to flee the scene by placing the vehicle in drive, an action that was promptly stopped by one of the officers.

The prosecution said the police then proceeded to search Lewis where a sum of cash and a key was found, then the vehicle, which the police said discovered a Smith and Western firearm and two magazines with 24 rounds of ammunition inside the glove compartment of the Kia.

Both defendants were questioned about the gun and ammunition, and they each denied knowledge of the items. They were arrested and transported to the Road Town Police Station.

After returning to the station, police said they weighed the seized cannabis which totaled 18.17 grams with a street value of $181.70.

The following day, the RVIPF executed a search warrant at Lewis’ residence in Harbour View, East End, where a further quantity of marijuana was found inside one suitcase and a large sum of pills suspected to be Ecstasy in another suitcase.

The second seized quantity of marijuana after being weighed totaled 220 grams with a street value of $2,200 while the suspected Ecstasy pills weighed 1600 grams.

The prosecution also informed the courts that Lewis was also charged for landing in the territory without the proper leave of an immigration officer.

Bail application

The prosecution indicated that they had no objections to bail for Guishard who at the time of her court appearance was already on police bail which was signed for $40,000. They however objected to bail for Lewis who is from Jacksonville, Florida.

Attorney Valerie Gordan in presenting a case of bail for her client Guishard, said she is a BVIslander, the mother of a young child, is presently gainfully employed, and does not pose a flight risk, adding that she has no previous history before the courts.

Gordan also revealed to the court that her client had simply gone out for a drink with Lewis that evening and was returned to the Hodge’s Creek Marina where her vehicle was parked. She said her client was about to disembark the vehicle moments before the police arrived.

Anxiety attacks

To further strengthen her case for bail, the attorney also pointed to Guishard’s medical condition where she suffers from anxiety attacks.

She said her client suffered an anxiety attack just hours after being arrested, which resulted in an ambulance having to go to the Road Town Police Station the following day.

Magistrate Richards granted Guishard court bail in the sum of $40,000, with reporting conditions and the handing over of all her travel documents to the court.

Lewis on the other hand was denied bail as he has no strong ties to the territory and was remanded to Her Majesty’s Balsam Ghut.

The two will reappear before the courts on October 13.