A 29-year-old woman rang in the New Year behind bars after attempting to smuggle drugs inside the prison, concealing them inside of dumplings and a Pringles can.
The court noted that the woman left her home at Georgetown on the North East of the mainland, and traveled to the Belle Isle correctional facility in North Leeward in order to deliver the drugs in food.
On December 30, 2021, the attempt to introduce prohibited articles into the prison was first picked up by an Assistant Superintendent of Police who then called two Special Service Unit officers, a Corporal and a Constable, away from their foot patrol around the prison compound.
The ASP pointed out Cornelia Humphrey, and a ‘Memphis BBQ’ Pringles can found in her possession which had been revealed to contain two plastic bags with Tobacco and Bambu wrapping paper.
The constable questioned the defendant and she admitted to them that she had cannabis inside a bowl of food. The bowl was searched and four transparent plastic bags of loose cannabis were discovered inside of dumplings. The Marijuana came up to a weight of 36g.
“Officer give me a chance please” she begged them.
The mother of two had no previous criminal record.
She said she was visiting her brother who is incarcerated.
“I know what I did was wrong and I know when he was out here he used to always smoking…” she told senior magistrate Rickie Burnett, “…I say I will just see what I could get…”
“Did he ask you to bring them or did you decide that on your own?” the magistrate asked.
“Did he ask me? No,” she replied.
However, the prosecutor, Corporal Corlene Samuel, later pointed out that the defendant changed her original answer which was yes, and the magistrate also indicated his belief that the brother asked her to bring the marijuana.
“So you sat down and planned this thing. Why would you want to do that Madam, why would you want to do that?” Burnett queried.
“Well I guess sometimes when so much ah people depend on you, you feel that you could, you know, help out everybody in certain situation…” she responded.
“Well you’re going to meet him,” Burnett told her, just that they would be in different locations.
“It is a serious offense to try to introduce things into the prison,” the magistrate said sternly, “there is a reason why he is in prison.
He cannot be in prison and then enjoying the freedom as though he is outside. He was sent to the prison because he committed an offense and the court deemed that prison was the appropriate sentence.”
He also told her that he didn’t understand her, “You have children, that’s the most you can do?”
“…Based on what you have done, it is possible that you could have put a gun or something else,” he added.
Burnett said that the prison ought to be a secure place. “You can’t have persons pretending that you are going to make a visit to persons in the prison and they are trying to beat the system by taking in stuff for a prisoner. Can’t happen.”
The punishment outlined by Parliament in the laws is a fine of $1500 and a period of imprisonment of six months. The magistrate said that this shows how seriously they viewed the offense.
“The year is almost coming to an end and that is the best thing you could choose to do,to go to prison to meet your brother?” Burnett questioned.
“It is true that this is your first conviction but the offense is serious. Look at what you went to do. To make a dumpling…and you sat down home and smiling over this,” he said, adding, “I don’t get it.”
The prosecutor said that it is the defendant’s first conviction, “but we have to send a message to persons who try.”
She asked the court to look at the extent the defendant went to conceal it, and the degree of premeditation.
“Weigh the flour – she had a chance to say no I’m not doing this. She rolled them out – she had a chance. She folded this thing in it… nothing. And still finished cooking the food and she took it there.”
The crown believed that a term of imprisonment would be appropriate.
When pondering the calculation of the sentence, the magistrate noted that, “The court also has to send a message to persons who may want to think like you, that they should not be thinking like you.”
Ultimately a term of three months incarceration was the decided sentence.