Couple caught with marijuana jailed for five years

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2016, 19:50 by Denis Chabrol

A couple was on Thursday slapped with five years imprisonment, after having been on trial for narco trafficking.

Hubert Bartholomew and Rochelle Gittens were jointly charged for having in their possession 1.550kg of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking. The find was made at the couple’s Howes Street Charlestown on August 22, 2016.

On the day they were charged (August 24, 2016), they both pleaded not guilty to the charge that was read to them by Magistrate Ann McLennan.
According to the facts on the day in question a party of policemen and women, acting on information, went to the home of the defendants and conducted a search. The officers were on a raid exercise in search of a wanted person.
The court heard that upon arrival at the premises, the police surrounded the building and knocked on the door. After a while, when there was no response, the ranks were forced to break open the door. Inside, they saw Bartholomew putting something under a chair, while Gittens allegedly tried to flush something down the toilet. A search was conducted and the items, which turned out to be a quantity of leaves, seeds and stems in a bag, were recovered. The substance was suspected to be cannabis. It was later confirmed to be the illicit drug, and the two were arrested, cautioned and the charge subsequently instituted.

In giving her remarks, the magistrate said the prosecution’s evidence was credible, that the defendants resided on the premises where the drugs were found, and they also had knowledge of it being on the premises and attempted to conceal same.

The defense attorneys, Peter Hugh and Latchmie Rahamat had claimed the police had planted the drugs on the premises and were just there to steal the jewellery and cellular phone. On the day the charges were laid, Hugh had relayed on his clients’ behalf that that police went to the accused’s home in the wee hours of August 22 and removed a door. The attorney had also related that his clients were dragged out of the house and placed into a bus, and while they were there the police searched the premises. Hugh had concluded that an undisclosed amount of cash, jewellery and several cell phones were allegedly removed by the police.

The defense’s evidence was found to be weak and fanciful, and their version of the story not credible. As such the Chief Magistrate found the two to be guilty as charged. She then handed down the five year sentence, along with GYD 1.8M fine, each.