From the Courts
September 11, 2015
‘I was set up’- Fisherman of the Year

Senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche said the police erred in their investigation in the case where a marijuana possession charge was brought against Fisherman of the Year Ray Anthony Clarke.{{more}}

As a result, on Wednesday, September 9, at the Serious Offences Court, Delpesche informed Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias that he was withdrawing the matter against Clarke, who was charged with possession of 56.6 pounds of marijuana.

“The matter was withdrawn by the prosecution because we couldn’t sustain a successful prosecution in terms of successfully prosecuting the case,” Delpesche told SEARCHLIGHT.

He explained that because of the way the search was conducted on Clarke’s boat ‘Ray J,’ he had discussed the matter with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the decision was made to withdraw the matter.

“The search was done in the absence of the defendant or any crew member of the boat. Now, that is not right. I would put it down to say the police slip up. We just couldn’t go ahead, so we took the decision to withdraw the case.

“As I say, if you can’t win, don’t start. That would be persecuting the man, and I don’t persecute,” the experienced prosecutor said.

Just days after being the toast of the town when he was named top fisherman, on June 1, Clarke was arrested and charged for having in his possession 25,651 grams (56.6 pounds) of marijuana on his boat ‘Ray J’, at the Fisheries wharf in Kingstown.

And while he is now a free man, the Green Hill resident firmly believes that he was set up.

“I believe this was a set-up and I think the police should do their job, rather than have civilians do their job. They must investigate thoroughly before they decide to lay a charge on a man that is totally innocent,” Clarke said.

“I pray to God the police will really catch who put it (drug) there, and who make the calls, and who tried setting me up so that they could feel the pain I have been going through for the past few months,” Clarke told SEARCHLIGHT, shortly after the charge against him was withdrawn.

He expressed relief that the charges against him were dismissed, adding that it felt as if a weight had been lifted from his head.

“I feel relieved to know that my counsel did his [job] and I really appreciate all the assistance he gave me. I just feel pleased that the truth has finally come to light and all the stress has passed away,” added Clarke, as he stood beside his counsel Grant Connell, outside the building that houses the Serious Offences Court.

“I was unable to travel because they had my travel documents for a while. I am still not able to make my phone calls to keep up with my business partners, because they still have my phones. I am just in my comfort zone now and it feels good to be free,” Clarke stated.

Connell described the matter as “unfortunate and a comic relief,” pointing out that before a charge of such nature is laid, consultations should be done with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as “there are ramifications of such actions.”

He said “this man has just been put on a pedestal. He was Fisherman of the Year and then he was charged with being in possession of marijuana on his boat at a wharf.”

The outspoken lawyer said it is only God alone who knows who placed the package on his client’s boat.

“The police seem to be guessing. Certainly, my client does not have a clue how it got there. We live in a vicious society, it could be jealousy, but we’re over that now,” Connell said, adding that he thinks the DPP did the right thing.

“When it comes to weed, it’s as if the police have an orgasmic effect. They get a high off it and then they charge,” Connell claimed.

Clarke’s boat and travel documents, which were held in police custody, have since been released.

With a catch of 3,111.8 pounds of fish, Clarke won this year’s Fisherman of the Year title on May 25, at the Fisherman’s Day festivities in Calliaqua.