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Bungled arrests, Drug Charges, draw fines!

Guilty pleaders free on fines, but held in detention, indefinitely

By Bennette Roach

The Director of Public Prosecution hints at appeal of sentence on charges which were compromised from Conspiracy to Engage in Drug Trafficking; Conspiracy to import a controlled Drug; Drug Trafficking; Possession of Cannabis Sativa with intent to supply; and, Possession of Cannabis Sativa; to a charge against Section 6 (3) (a) in contravention of Section 16 (ii) of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act Cap 4.07.

The eventual charge to which the five defendants all pleaded guilty, was the offence of possession of a controlled drug to wit portions of the plant Cannabis Sativa for the purpose of drug trafficking. Novian Travis Mullings, however also pleaded guilty on another charge of possession of a controlled drug to wit 0.833 grams of the plant Cannabis Sativa, contrary to Section 7 (2) of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act Cap 4.07 of the Revised Laws of Montserrat 2013.

The hearing dates according to court records were: 25 October 2017, 01 November 2017, 9 November 2017 and 10 November 2017, the last being the date when these men received sentences on what generally would have heavy fines and jail sentences, but for the explanation given by the Magistrate.

In his judgement on sentencing the Magistrate recorded: “I am satisfied on the facts provided by the Director of Public Prosecution that the question of sentencing can be disposed of before this Court and there was no need to exercise my power under section 26 of the Drug Prevention of Misuse Act Cap 4. 07. Their character and antecedents does not require a great(er) punishment that my jurisdiction in sentencing allows. The quantity and the street value in my opinion as regards sentencing can be disposed of in this Court.”

As police reports stated, the Magistrate found that two of the accused “Christopher and Richard Russel were found with Cannabis Sativa. They had ingested the packets and passed them out by vomiting and excretion.

Nothing was found on Shanardo Morrison or Allisteir Mighty but they all confessed to be a part of the scheme to get the drugs into Montserrat.” But the Jamaican resident Novian Travis Mullings on the other hand was guilty, in addition, with possession of 0.833 grams of Cannabis Sativa.

Sentencing

Novian Travis Mullings who had a prior conviction for possession of Cannabis Sativa was fined a sum of EC$3,500.00 for possession of Cannabis Sativa for the purpose of drug trafficking, in default one year imprisonment, time allowed one month. On the charge of possession of Cannabis Sativa Mullings was fined a sum of EC$750.00, in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Allisteir Mighty was fined a sum of $3, 500. 00, in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Shanardo Morrison was fined a sum $2,000.00 in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Christopher Russell was fined a sum $3,500.00 in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Richard Russell was fined a sum of $3,500.00 in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Following the sentencing of the five young men, Mullings was the only one who went free. As many mulled how this matter had turned out the way it did with what they considered a let off, the attorneys said their clients were faced with additional problems as the others were held in detention at police headquarters up today. 

The Attorneys Warren Cassell and Lovetta Silcott said the detention was unlawful as were the processing of initial arrests and can cause an embarrassment to the OECS state, as may be deduced from the result of the hearings and fines.

Also the court in passing sentences heard hints of concern from the prosecution who hinted appealing. But the court had also heard from the attorneys that any jail term would have been challenged as unconstitutional.

The problem the police and immigration faced is that only one of the four was considered ‘landed’ in Montserrat as they were never processed to have been landed in Montserrat. Attorneys say that the men were not imprisoned and are therefore not subject to deportation. Meanwhile deportation might mean fines can go unpaid.

However, two men have paid their fines and have expressed a desire to leave Montserrat, but they are still held in detention where they complained up to Friday receiving only one meal per day.

On Friday by the end of day Attorney have filed writs of Habeas Corpus with the hope of obtaining the freedom the men having received sentences for their crimes.

So it is believed that the bungling continues, and the court having to convene soon to hear arguments on the writ, the matter may not yet be reaching closure, even after sentencing and payment of fines. There are hints that the authorities may even be considering approaching the Governor for ‘pardons’.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Guilty pleaders free on fines, but held in detention, indefinitely

By Bennette Roach

The Director of Public Prosecution hints at appeal of sentence on charges which were compromised from Conspiracy to Engage in Drug Trafficking; Conspiracy to import a controlled Drug; Drug Trafficking; Possession of Cannabis Sativa with intent to supply; and, Possession of Cannabis Sativa; to a charge against Section 6 (3) (a) in contravention of Section 16 (ii) of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act Cap 4.07.

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The eventual charge to which the five defendants all pleaded guilty, was the offence of possession of a controlled drug to wit portions of the plant Cannabis Sativa for the purpose of drug trafficking. Novian Travis Mullings, however also pleaded guilty on another charge of possession of a controlled drug to wit 0.833 grams of the plant Cannabis Sativa, contrary to Section 7 (2) of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act Cap 4.07 of the Revised Laws of Montserrat 2013.

The hearing dates according to court records were: 25 October 2017, 01 November 2017, 9 November 2017 and 10 November 2017, the last being the date when these men received sentences on what generally would have heavy fines and jail sentences, but for the explanation given by the Magistrate.

In his judgement on sentencing the Magistrate recorded: “I am satisfied on the facts provided by the Director of Public Prosecution that the question of sentencing can be disposed of before this Court and there was no need to exercise my power under section 26 of the Drug Prevention of Misuse Act Cap 4. 07. Their character and antecedents does not require a great(er) punishment that my jurisdiction in sentencing allows. The quantity and the street value in my opinion as regards sentencing can be disposed of in this Court.”

As police reports stated, the Magistrate found that two of the accused “Christopher and Richard Russel were found with Cannabis Sativa. They had ingested the packets and passed them out by vomiting and excretion.

Nothing was found on Shanardo Morrison or Allisteir Mighty but they all confessed to be a part of the scheme to get the drugs into Montserrat.” But the Jamaican resident Novian Travis Mullings on the other hand was guilty, in addition, with possession of 0.833 grams of Cannabis Sativa.

Sentencing

Novian Travis Mullings who had a prior conviction for possession of Cannabis Sativa was fined a sum of EC$3,500.00 for possession of Cannabis Sativa for the purpose of drug trafficking, in default one year imprisonment, time allowed one month. On the charge of possession of Cannabis Sativa Mullings was fined a sum of EC$750.00, in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Allisteir Mighty was fined a sum of $3, 500. 00, in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Shanardo Morrison was fined a sum $2,000.00 in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Christopher Russell was fined a sum $3,500.00 in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Richard Russell was fined a sum of $3,500.00 in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Following the sentencing of the five young men, Mullings was the only one who went free. As many mulled how this matter had turned out the way it did with what they considered a let off, the attorneys said their clients were faced with additional problems as the others were held in detention at police headquarters up today. 

The Attorneys Warren Cassell and Lovetta Silcott said the detention was unlawful as were the processing of initial arrests and can cause an embarrassment to the OECS state, as may be deduced from the result of the hearings and fines.

Also the court in passing sentences heard hints of concern from the prosecution who hinted appealing. But the court had also heard from the attorneys that any jail term would have been challenged as unconstitutional.

The problem the police and immigration faced is that only one of the four was considered ‘landed’ in Montserrat as they were never processed to have been landed in Montserrat. Attorneys say that the men were not imprisoned and are therefore not subject to deportation. Meanwhile deportation might mean fines can go unpaid.

However, two men have paid their fines and have expressed a desire to leave Montserrat, but they are still held in detention where they complained up to Friday receiving only one meal per day.

On Friday by the end of day Attorney have filed writs of Habeas Corpus with the hope of obtaining the freedom the men having received sentences for their crimes.

So it is believed that the bungling continues, and the court having to convene soon to hear arguments on the writ, the matter may not yet be reaching closure, even after sentencing and payment of fines. There are hints that the authorities may even be considering approaching the Governor for ‘pardons’.