Court upholds FIU’s seizure of cash found in shop
Jennifer ‘Jennie’ Samuel, owner of the ‘Atlantic Breeze Bar & Grocery’
From the Courts
October 25, 2019
Court upholds FIU’s seizure of cash found in shop

Sums of EC$12,960.28, US$239, and CDN $50 found at a Colonarie bar were forfeited to the state last Friday, the court finding them to be derived from unlawful conduct.

Owner of the ‘Atlantic Breeze Bar & Grocery’, Jennifer ‘Jennie’ Samuel failed to reclaim the money, which was found in her shop, in approximately 44 different containers by a group of police officers on August 8, 2018.

A Superintendent of Police gave evidence before the Serious Offences Court October 15, that the party of police officers which descended on the bar that morning, observed marijuana seeds and marijuana dust, on the bar and in most of the containers containing money. It was this observation that made the police officers decide to seize the money. All persons in the bar at the time were searched, but nothing was found on them.

The police also found cannabis on the compound, and Samuel was charged the following day, Thursday August 9, 2018, for possession of 433g, 162g and 690g of the illegal drug.

However, she only pleaded guilty to possession of 433g, and was reprimanded and discharged for this, after her attorney Grant Connell mitigated that she smokes for medical reasons.

The shopkeeper was allowed bail in relation to the other charges.

Additionally, giving evidence last Tuesday, was a Sergeant based at the Financial Intelligence Unit(FIU).

He was cross examined by Connell extensively, and accused of bringing in the evidence of other police officers through the backdoor, because for around 20 of 36 paragraphs of his written evidence, he was informed by someone else.

The lawyer also suggested most of the containers had ‘high leaf’(tobacco) in them, and not marijuana. He brought attention to one of the containers that held cigarettes as well as $1430. The Sergeant stated that he believed this container to have plant like material resembling that of cannabis.

Connell told him that he was suggesting to him that it didn’t, and that it just formed part of them “dusting” the shop with cannabis.

The lawyer also posed questions to the Superintendent of Police and the Sergeant about whether or not they asked about the total daily sales of the shop. Neither said that they did, the Sergeant said that he did not because Samuel had counsel in the matter. He also said he attempted to interview her on her employment and where she got the money from, but she declined to answer.

“Did you know that she orders in excess of 20 cases of rum at any given time?” Connell asked the Sergeant.

He confirmed that there were receipts to show that she orders multiples cases of rum, with a gap of 12, 16 or 23 days between orders, but also that there were discrepancies found.

However, it also came out in court that Samuel did not have a liquor license at the time, but the lawyer dismissed this as a pointless contribution because the shopkeeper was never charged for this.

Counsel Kaywana Jacobs on the side of the FIU also cross examined Samuel when she took the stand.

Samuel was asked how long she had been running the shop, and she answered that she had been doing so for six to seven years, and she employs no-one but runs the shop by herself.

Although she answered that maybe seven containers of money were found, the shopkeeper conceded that it was possible that the number was in fact 44.

Samuel informed that she keeps money in these separate containers so as to know where her profits are. When asked why they were not labelled, she said that she knows how she puts them.

She admitted to smoking marijuana, but said that she bought it using money that she pays herself. Samuel also indicated that persons smoke marijuana in the shop sometimes.

The decision in the matter was reserved for last Friday, October 18. Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne decided that after hearing and examining the evidence, she was satisfied that the sums were recoverable sums, cash derived from or intended for use in unlawful conduct.