British Virgin Islands drug trial: Guyanese $20 spoils prosecution’s show

Last Updated on Friday, 5 May 2017, 23:23 by Denis Chabrol

(BVI NEWS).- The ‘mysterious’ appearance of a Guyanese $20 bill has affected the case prosecutors have been building against Dillon Findlay and Jariel Harrigan, who are on trial in relation to marijuana-related charges.

The prosecution had tried to enter an exhibit into evidence, but was denied after the court discovered the Guyanese $20 – which was not accounted for – inside the evidence bag of the said exhibit.

According to two members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the accused men were found sleeping in a vehicle that was parked in the Crabbe Lot (Ghetto) area of Road Town in April 2015.

During their respective testimonies in the Magistrate’s Court, police officers Calvert Romney and Durville Carty said they caught Findlay, Harrigan, and Omarie Winter with 61.2 grams of marijuana, a total of US$828 cash, a bag of bamboo wrapping paper and dime bags.

The cops stated that, of the total amount of money found, they recovered US$602 in Findlay’s pants pocket. They said the other US$226 was found inside the vehicle.

The law enforcers further told the court that they suspected the accused men were selling drugs. They also noted their suspicion that the monies found were proceeds of drug dealing.

The monies and items that were allegedly recovered were presented in court to be entered into evidence.

All the items were admitted into evidence except the evidence bag containing the $602. That evidence bag was discovered to contain the ‘mysterious’ Guyanese currency.

Defence attorney Ayodeji Bernard, who is representing Findlay, argued that the $602 should not be accepted into evidence because neither of the police officers mentioned it in their testimony.

“I do share counsel’s sentiments… I have no evidence of how it came to be into the bag,” said Magistrate Ayana Baptiste-DaBreo.

The magistrate then questioned: “Where did it magically appear from?”

“Based on that concern, I will not allow this $602 plus the Guyanese currency into evidence because I have no evidence of [how the Guyanese $20 came into custody],” added Magistrate Baptiste-DaBreo.

Police officer Carty later told the court that he had forgotten to mention that the Guyanese currency was also found in Findlay’s possession on the night in question.

The ‘marijuana’ trial involving Findlay and Harrigan will continue on May 19.

Meanwhile, although Omarie Winter was reportedly implicated in the bust, he is not on trial as he has “taken a particular course” in the matter, the court was told.