After a stern warning from the Chief Magistrate on the deadly effects of cocaine, a Langley Park man barely survived the possibility of jail last week.
Shindin Clarke, previously charged with having in his possession 102g of cocaine on January 15 this year, decided to plead guilty before the Serious Offences Court last Tuesday.
Clarke was nabbed at the Grenadines wharf, among the many persons passing through the gates, at gate number 7. He was searched, and in his back left pants pocket, PC909 apparently found a black plastic bag containing a whitish substance ressembling cocaine.
The officer in court was having a bit of trouble with showing the substance in evidence to the Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias, taking a while to put on the gloves.
“It’s okay. You’re not a doctor, so take your time,” Browne-Matthias told him.
Clarke, who had no previous convictions before the court, mitigated by saying that he was a father.
“You consider yourself a good father? Doing what? Coke?…if the children decide to play with powder when you’re not there?” Browne-Matthias responded.
“Cocaine wrecks people,” the chief magistrate told the defendant, “A lot of children, a lot of young people who have potential.”
She continued, “Some people are not so lucky the first try. They’re out. That’s it. Life over. Dead.”
She stated that the charge was serious, and no different than a gun charge, and indicated that she was “weighing all options.”
The matter was stood down for some time, and when it was called back, it was indicated that Clarke had the means to pay a fine that day.
The chief magistrate declared that if a fine was “at all to be considered,” that it would be close to three times the estimated street value for the 102g of cocaine. The street value was worked out in court to be just over $3,000.
“We’re looking at money upwards of $7,000,” Browne-Matthias stated finally.
Clarke revealed that he had about half of this.
“The serious nature of cocaine dictates, in this court, that you come good,” the magistrate told the defendant.
The worried defendant then pleaded “I go like for see my grandmother when she buried,” after saying that the funeral was to be held soon.
Unaffected by the plea, the matter was stood down again by the chief magistrate, for Clarke to find out if he could pay a fine.
After the third time it was called, the matter was finally decided, and a fine of $7,500 was handed down.
The sum of $4,000 was to be paid forthwith, in default of which Clarke would spend a year in prison. The remainder, this being $3,500, should be paid by September 10, failing which the defendant will spend a year in prison.
Clarke paid the sum of money as soon as court was adjourned, and left.