From the Courts
January 30, 2009
Bajan ordered to pay for drugs

Barbadian national, Clarence Watkins was fined $250 when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Donald Browne on Wednesday at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court and pleaded guilty to possession of 15 grams of cannabis on January 27, 2009.{{more}}

The 35-year-old was jointly charged along with his countryman Clarence Daniel. Daniel pleaded not guilty and the charge against him was dismissed.

Watkins was ordered to pay the fine by today or he would spend 21 days at Her Majesty’s Prison.

Both men pleaded not guilty the day before and were both remanded.

At approximately 5 a.m., members of the Rapid Response Unit went to an apartment in Cane Hall after receiving certain information. On arrival there, the police officers knocked on Room Three of that apartment, after which a light went on. Moments later, one of the officers noticed someone throwing a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) box out of the window which the officer retrieved.

Watkins finally answered the door, and the box, which contained plant material resembling that of cannabis, was opened in the presence of both men who denied any knowledge about the drug. A search conducted in one of the rooms of the apartment found a quantity of money amounting to over BD$1,800.

Prosecutor Sergeant Glenford Gregg told the court that the money was the subject of investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

Watkins’ Lawyer, Grant Connell, told the court that his client, who came here legally, was scheduled to leave the island today and that deportation order was not necessary. “Given the amount of drugs… it is relatively small, I am asking the court to impose a small fine,” Connell stated. The young attorney added that his client was of no threat to anyone and didn’t see why he should be deported.

Magistrate Browne told Connell that even though he was here legitimately, he broke the law. Browne added that he was not going to impose a custodial sentence on Watkins, and would only fine him.

However, the issue of legitimacy of both men’s stay in the country was raised by Prosecutor Gregg, who told the court that a simple check can be done at the Immigration Department about the matter. In responding to Prosecutor Gregg, Connell said that there was no need to detain his client any longer even if he was here illegitimately. He said that the police were in possession of Watkins’ travel documents and the night spent on remand should serve as his sentence.(KW)