Drugs, lighters, cellphones and other items in fruit juice boxes suspected to be destined for the prison were nabbed in the possession of a man from Grieggs last week.
If you ask defendant, Neville Edwards, a 39-year-old labourer, he is likely to tell you as he told the court last Friday, May 27, that he was set up and that a lady gave him $200 to drop off a bag he was carrying to a particular location.
Having been found in possession of 259g of concealed cannabis, Edwards accepted that he was guilty for possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply.
However, from what was prepared by the arresting officer and read by the prosecution, Sergeant 172 Atnel Ash, the police went looking for Edwards last Thursday. On May 26, at around 4:00 p.m, acting on a tip-off, Corporal 296 Davis along with three junior officers, went in search of the defendant at Lower Bay Street. Edwards was found in the vicinity of Phoenix Kitchen when PC 548 Duncan spotted him. The police approached and identified themselves, requesting a search of Edwards’ person and belongings. The search of the labourer’s person revealed nothing illegal but the bag that he was carrying bore what seemed to be a name labelled on it. The bag held a Fruta box and two Orchard boxes which when opened were found to contain cannabis, two cellular phones, two sim cards, wrapping paper, lighters and high leaf.
“Officer ah somebody give me the bag to drop off,” Edwards explained.
When he was back to the Criminal Investigations Department(CID) the Grieggs resident is said to have volunteered a statement admitting to the offence.
Upon offering up his story to Chief Magistrate, Rechanne Browne last Friday, the magistrate asked the defendant whether he knew the woman in question.
The defendant said that it was his second time seeing her.
“… Because I could come up to you and just go and tell you, ‘Hey just go and drop this down the road for me and give you money?’ You’re not gonna do it,” the magistrate told him.
In discussions towards mitigation, the defendant was also asked by the magistrate whether he had any children. He said that he had a five year old and a 12 year old. To further questions, Edwards replied that he does take time to see them, and that he now has to buy “Common Entrance” (the former equivalent of the Caribbean Primary Exit Examination) books. When it was pointed out that the primary exit examination had been completed, he said that they were for Secondary School.
The accused claimed that neither mother of the children was employed.
The prosecution was also called upon to give their submissions. The Sergeant observed that: “The inference gathered here is that the substance, the way how they were packaged and everything, it was destined for one place – that is at Her Majesty’s Prison.”
Ash said this was an aggravating factor of the offence.
He regarded the story given by the defendant as “hard to believe” and put forward the opinion that the defendant was in the habit of doing such acts.
With the seriousness of the offence, combined with Edwards’ previous convictions, the prosecution asked that a fine of an appropriate value be handed down by the court.
The magistrate considered the defendant’s criminal record before her.
She noted that there were significant drug, assault and firearm matters listed, so that he could be equated as being a seasoned offender.
Edwards had admitted that where the record reflects his breach of a protection order against the mother of one of his children and his being caught with a firearm, these are correct.
As it concerns the firearm, he explained that, “I was a young, young, young boy” and that he had picked up the weapon when it dropped from two men who were fighting.
Edwards also remembers being caught with marijuana in “Leeward” in 2013/2014.
The magistrate noted that it shows that he wasn’t learning from his mistakes.
When it was time to deliver a sentence, Browne said that it wasn’t only the quantity that is considered but also the circumstances surrounding the offence.
In this case she concluded that he had committed the offence for financial gain.
“We cannot be selling our souls for a sum of money,” she advised him.
“You are selling away your freedom for potentially $200.
“They ain carrying it or dropping it. You must do it, because they know you have a history,” Browne reasoned, “…And you willingly…forgetting you have a five-year-old, and a 12-year-old.”
The judicial officer pointed out to Edwards: “You haven’t even looked in there. Suppose it is something addressed for somebody to say ‘Kill him when he come’?”
The defendant said this was what he told the officers that he didn’t know what was in the bag, and he apologised.
The magistrate also highlighted the packaging, “Because those kind of things are only destined for one place. Where they are deemed to be prohibited.”
Edwards said he didn’t know what was inside.
“It was your duty to check,” Browne told him.
Browne told him that the only reason he wasn’t going to prison “…is because you pled guilty at first instance and that would make me consider a non-custodial sentence. That’s the only reason.”
Ultimately a fine of $1000 was imposed based on the value of the substance, multiplied by three and reduced for the guilty plea.
The judicial officer noted that he should pay the sum, “with the same speed you were just willing to take $200 for a little plastic bag.”
However the defendant asked for time to pay the fine. When asked the prosecution did not object to this.
Additionally they revealed that the police had found $200 with the items.
This $200 went to the fine to be paid forthwith.
The balance of $800 is to be paid by July 1 or Edwards will serve three months in prison.
The drug was ordered to be destroyed and the other items confiscated.
The defendant left the compound and he could be heard muttering darkly about being set up.