The recent raid of the home of a Georgetown farmer allegedly revealed a number of illegal items being kept on the property, including a large stash of marijuana.
On January 10, at the Serious Offences Court, Bert Williams was charged with the offences of possession of 10,000g of cannabis, with intent to supply; having in his possession one live sheep, which was reasonably suspected of being unlawfully obtained or stolen; and further, having in his possession two carcasses, that of a sheep and a pig, also reasonably suspected of being unlawfully obtained or stolen. At first the defendant pleaded guilty to all offences, which are said to have occurred on January 8.
In the beginning, Williams did not stand in the witness box in court by himself; one Kensley James was also being charged alongside him with possession of the 10,000g of marijuana. However, James had pleaded not guilty and the prosecution ended up withdrawing the charge against him, after the facts were read in court.
All items were said to have be found in the home of the defendant by law enforcement who, acting on information received, were in the process of executing a search warrant. The first unusual item was said to have been found in Williamsâ yard, that being the carcass of a pig with its intestines, feet and head removed. Next, a sheep, cut in half, was found hanging from a rope. Moving into Williamsâ abode, the officers found two metal bowls, one containing animal meat and another the removed feet of the pig. Some more meat was also found in the fridge. Williams explained to the police that a rasta had given the meat to him.
Next stop on the search of the property was a closed shed in the yard, where branches of marijuana hanging from lines were apparently revealed, and the other former defendant James was sitting down, stripping branches. Williams then intoned, âDe weed ah mine; me jus hire the man for help clean.â
Lastly a small brown sheep was also said to have been found tied behind the shed containing the drugs.
When it was his time to address the court, the defendant gave an explanation which caused the Chief Magistrate to chose to enter a ânot guiltyâ plea on his behalf for the offences regarding the allegedly âstolenâ animals. Williams said that the sheep and pig carcasses, which were for his birthday, and the little sheep, which was for his four-year-old daughter, were given to him by his cousin, a rastaman from Sandy Bay. Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias asked him why the police who were investigating the situation could not find the man when they went to Sandy Bay. Williams revealed that âis mountain he liveâ and that he wasnât around all the time, although admitting that he did not have a number for the man.
Williams, in an effort not to be sent to jail, told Matthias-Browne that he was a father of a four-year-old, over whom he had sole responsibility.
A fine of $15,000 was initially slotted for the farmer, who said he could pay, if he was given some time; but the Chief Magistrate said that he had to call and find out how much of the money he could pay immediately.
However, the defendant did not make any calls when he went into the prisonerâs bay and when he was recalled to the stand, he told the judge that he had not been successful. Noting that among other considerations, the optional fine did not seem to be âworking wellâ for Williams and that âthese offences usually attract a custodial sentence,â a sentence of nine months in prison was handed down to the defendant instead.
The matter of the animals suspected of being stolen was adjourned and transferred to the Georgetown Magistrateâs Court for trial.(KR)