Magistrate throws the book at man nabbed with cocaine
From the Courts
July 3, 2018
Magistrate throws the book at man nabbed with cocaine

The state must not prostitute itself where it concerns cocaine, pleaded the Prosecution last week, right before a man was fined and confined for possession and trafficking of the drug.

Two became one last Wednesday, after Keith Warren plead guilty to charges of possession and trafficking of 2,585g of cocaine, while his co-accused, Bevan Boyea pleaded not guilty.

These charges were first put in November last year, but it was only last week, after Warren changed his plea to guilty, that the prosecution moved to withdraw the charges against Boyea.

Warren and Boyea had been arrested on November 18, 2017, when a truck that Boyea was allegedly driving was stopped at the Grenadines Wharf.

The police had stopped the truck, which had a number of passengers and bags on it. They asked that the passengers take up the bags that belonged to them.

Unearthed in the bag belonging to Warren was a black plastic bag, which contained a white plastic bag, which housed a brown taped package. Inside the package was a substance which ressembled, and was later confirmed to be cocaine. Both Boyea and Warren denied knowledge of the package.

Grant Connell, attorney for Warren, mitigated that the father of five children, had no previous convictions at the age of 49.

“He was given the package to carry to Canouan,” the lawyer said. Warren thought that the drug was Marijuana, and “not privy at that point that he was in possession of the wretched drug,” Connell said.

The person that he was supposed to take the drug to in Canouan did not turn up, and Warren was apparently forced to return with it, the attorney said.

The lawyer asked the court to be merciful and impose a fine in the circumstances.

“We do need money, the jails are full. I can’t comment on the coffers,” he stated.

“It would cost to maintain him in prison, $1,000 a month,” he pointed out later.

Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche responded to this point about the state’s coffers, by saying, “The state cannot prostitute itself, and should not prostitute itself.”

“We must say ‘Okay sell coke and we will charge them a fine’? Can’t say that!” he said.

“We have to have standards, and we have to have class as a people,” Delplesche insisted.

“We must say and send a clear message that we will wash the one shirt overnight and have it clean for tomorrow,” he ended.

He pointed out that “five and a half pounds of cocaine among a population of about 110,000 people can be devastating.”

He asked for a custodial sentence.

Connell returned that it would not be prostitution, as the law stipulates that a fine can be given.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias sentenced Warren to three years in prison for possession, and three years in prison for trafficking, to run concurrently.

Added to the prison sentence for the trafficking of the substance, Warren must pay $25,000 six months after his release, failing which he will spend a further year in jail.

“The court does not take these offences lightly at all. He is fortunate to have entered a guilty plea,” she ended.