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Irene F. Penn-O'Neal & others found not guilty

- were placed before the court after weapons & ammo were found in home in October 2014
Irene F. Penn-O'Neal (left) being comforted by her lawyer Valerie Stephens-Gordon following the not guilty verdict. Photo: VINO
Mother and daughter: Irene F. Penn-O'Neal and Zubida O'Neal have been found not guilty on all charges. Photo: VINO/File
Mother and daughter: Irene F. Penn-O'Neal and Zubida O'Neal have been found not guilty on all charges. Photo: VINO/File
Shameek Grant has been found not guilty on all charges. Photo: VINO/File
Shameek Grant has been found not guilty on all charges. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Following months of agonising legal woes, former legislator Irene F. Penn-O’Neal and her daughter Zubida O'Neal and daughter’s boyfriend Shameek Grant walked out of the courtroom as free persons.

Principal Magistrate Tamia N. Richards found them not guilty of all charges against them.

Following a lengthy summary of the prosecution’s case, it was time for Magistrate Richards to give her verdict. Starting with Irene F. Penn-O’Neal, she announced not guilty on the counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon.

Then on the same charges, the Magistrate read out not guilty verdicts as it related to Zubida O’Neal and Shameek Grant.

With regards to all three persons, the Magistrate said she did not believe that any of them had any knowledge of the items being in the house. She said with regards to Irene F. Penn-O’Neal, she had a chance to be a firearm holder as a member of the House of Assembly and she had refused.

The Magistrate also took into consideration the deportment of the three during their testimony and cross examination which led her to be more convinced that they were speaking the truth. She also based her decision on the repeated admission of ownership of the unlawful items by son Cordell O’Neal, who has been sent to Balsam Ghut for his part played in the entire saga.

“All of the defendants are discharged and are free to go,” said Magistrate Richards.

On the outside of the court house, Mrs Penn-O’Neal was seen weeping in relief and vindication following not guilty verdicts for herself and her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend.

Lawyer for Zubida O’Neal, Leroy Jones said he was scheduled to be out of the territory today but like Dolly Parton he decided to stand by his client, to the welcome result of a not guilty verdict.

She had no knowledge

On May 20, 2015, police officer, Keishon Leslie had testified that Mrs Irene F. Penn-O’Neal from the onset maintained that she had no knowledge of guns and ammunition found in her home in the early morning hours of October 24, 2014.

The respected former legislator, her children Zubida and Cordell O’Neal and Shameek Grant were in the O’Neal’s home when a raid was conducted at the Pockwood Pond home by officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), who had said they were at the time on an operation based on intelligence gathered.

Cordell O’Neal from the onset had claimed ownership of the illegal items and has since been sentenced to 7 years 10 months in prison. However, the remaining three who pleaded not guilty to charges are having their trial in the Magistrate’s Court before Senior Magistrate Tamia N. Richards.

During his testimony on May 20, 2015 Police Officer Leslie took the court through his recollection of what he did, saw and heard during the search of the O’Neal’s home. He recollected vividly Mrs O’Neal saying she had no knowledge of the two guns, ammunition and other related items allegedly found in the study and Zubida’s bedroom.

He also told the court that Cordell O’Neal had told him that it was he who had gone to the two rooms and put the items where they were found and that his mother had no knowledge of any of them.

“My mother aint going to jail. Officer I come up here foreday morning and put them there. Whatever you find I put them there,” the Officer recalled Mr O'Neal as saying and noted that O'Neal repeatedly claimed ownership when the search went to the study area of the home as he said, “Officer I done tell you already I come up foreday morning and put them there,” the officer had testified.

24 Responses to “Irene F. Penn-O'Neal & others found not guilty”

  • ballhead (24/07/2015, 18:09) Like (24) Dislike (32) Reply
    Let dem wicked ndp tek dat
    • Neither NDP OR VIP (25/07/2015, 09:25) Like (22) Dislike (6) Reply
      But, just wondering How the NDP get in this buddy? Is the Family and Judge controlled by the NDP. Oh what fools!!
    • rattie (25/07/2015, 12:45) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
      You is absolutely correct in his assessment of the method,
    • Yes (25/07/2015, 14:29) Like (14) Dislike (3) Reply
      Ndp put guns in her house?
  • VG (24/07/2015, 18:17) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply
    God don't sleep yes
  • the sixth (24/07/2015, 18:21) Like (11) Dislike (13) Reply
  • D (24/07/2015, 18:24) Like (24) Dislike (4) Reply
    Free at last free at last thank god
  • God Reigns (24/07/2015, 19:15) Like (20) Dislike (18) Reply
    I am glad this is all over for that family. It was nothing but a diabolical attack of the enemy to hinder Mrs. Penn from contesting the last election and in the process tarnish that woman's good character. We were supportive of her then and we continue to be supportive to her now. Mrs. Penn take my simple advice, old people say 'every shadow is a man.' Read between the lines and you will be just fine. Best wishes and much prayers.
  • Fam (24/07/2015, 19:37) Like (13) Dislike (5) Reply
    She should have talk about the letter funny man wrote her
  • lolloll (24/07/2015, 21:19) Like (11) Dislike (6) Reply
    url pl sick wa dnp have to do with this the woman son is responsible n he take the rap for it so wa u all really think going happen them going get jail. strupes its procedures dum nuts
  • lollol (24/07/2015, 21:22) Like (10) Dislike (6) Reply
    was. NDP there when here son tske the gun home did the good old dock tell him take home the gun n make his mother n family loom bad. dum nuts
  • bellevue (25/07/2015, 01:09) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    We give God thanks for the victory.AmenGod did it again
  • wize up (25/07/2015, 06:31) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    nice but she did fraser bad; the man stuck with her then she joined with other and pushed him from the moving train....
  • eyes (25/07/2015, 07:26) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    its natural for a mother to protect her kids, wrong or right, someone in that house is guilty... Justice eyes very wide opened...It sees and judge the people before it.....God is watching, that I know.
  • Voter Too (25/07/2015, 07:50) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yes thank God this is over. Mrs Penn during the election I sense you blight, your uneasiness with the whole situation as many use it to demote and slander you but there is a God and continue to trust him. Him and him alone is worthy of all praise.Now to your son please learn a lesson from this and change your ways. You have at least 7 or less years to make it right. Please be of good behaviour while at Balsam and trust God to help you too.
  • just saying.. (25/07/2015, 08:16) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ok The NDP had one minister writing her a letter claiming he was not involved
    ..more to come
  • Just saying (25/07/2015, 09:42) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    If this case was still pending in the courts, how was Mrs. Oneal allowed (eligible ) to run for office?
    • wize up (25/07/2015, 13:00) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ just asking: welcome to the BVI( now u know)...some of them in office should be in jail but that's another topic
  • SHAME (26/07/2015, 06:59) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is a shame how people slander each other tell me the name of a perfect person and these NDP bloggers i guess you all are getting from tax payers money i will leave this today for me tomorrow for you .
  • Hmph (26/07/2015, 10:09) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

    Who done prosocut dis case - all dem aquited - muss have been Ti*****!!

  • Real fools (26/07/2015, 21:48) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Did it really take a court date for this. They brother done claim them. But u know what. My God dont sleep nor slumber. So all who wish bad on this Good lady will rot in hell before it happens
  • retards (27/07/2015, 10:06) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    i swear tolians dont have no sense.... yall blame everything on the government.... even if you wake up with a head ache yall blaming ndp....... sound so dumb.....

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