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Bungling Drug Charges and arrests

Drug arrests – smuggling drugs into Montserrat

by Bennette Roach

Davy Hill – Nov 3, 2017

Police turned up at the John Osborne Airport on Saturday morning October 21, 2017, to continue what they later, but at first denied they had informed anyone of their actions as they investigated three young men and then another, all reportedly Jamaican nationals on drug related charges. By the end of this week the police may have bungled badly the case against these accused men, or some of them, as they reportedly coerced them, obtaining guilty pleas from them, while constantly, according to attorneys denying them their Constitutional rights to being able to consult with them in a timely manner.

TMR first learned on Saturday morning what the Royal Montserrat Police later reported, they apprehended four Jamaican nationals (one resident in Montserrat) who allegedly smuggled illegal drugs into Montserrat on Friday evening shortly after arriving at the John A Osborne airport.

The police were reported to say, “the Jamaican nationals were interviewed by members of the integrated border security unit when they began acting in a suspicious manner. As a result the men were taken to the police headquarters in Brades, where one of them started vomiting what appeared to be an illegal substance. The police then noticed that the substance was marijuana sealed in a saran wrap…”

The report continued that one or more of them “were taken to the Glendon hospital where they further threw up additional packages of the illegal substance…”

The report confirmed our earlier information of the apprehension and arrest of another resident Jamaican national who reportedly colluded with the men to ‘smuggle’ the drugs into the island.

As to the bungling of the matter by the police creates the potential, to lose before the courts, as attorneys who tried to meet with the detained and arrested, were repeatedly prevented from seeing or speaking to their clients.

Some of the men have already been to the courts and have pleaded guilty without the benefit of an audience with the Attorneys, who point out that they were denied their Constitutional rights. They cite Section 6 which in part states: “Any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right, at any stage and at his or her own expense, to retain and instruct without delay a legal representative of his or her own choice, and to hold private communication with him or her…”

Their clients complain that they were denied access to contact their relatives, which the attorneys note violates the same section of the Constitution: “…Every person who is arrested shall be informed, in a language that he or she understands and as soon as possible after he or she is brought to a police station or other place of custody, of his or her rights under subsection (3); and that person shall also have the right, and shall be informed and that person shall also have the right, and shall be informed at the same time that he or she has the right, to remain silent and to have one person informed by the quickest practicable means of his or her arrest and whereabouts.

The accused were charged generally with the following: Conspiracy to Engage in Drug Trafficking. Conspiracy to import a controlled Drug; Drug Trafficking; Possession of Cannabis Sativa with intent to supply; Possession of Cannabis Sativa Contrary to varying clauses of Section 7 of the Drugs (Prevention  of  Misuse)  Act Cap 4.07 of the Revised  Laws of Montserrat 2013, and Common Law.

In one instance the resident accused was charged with Assisting in the commission of an offence  outside  of  Montserrat:  between the 1st day of October 2017 and the 20th day of October 2017 in a place outside of Montserrat namely , Antigua, assisted Shanardo Morrison,  Richard Russell and Christopher Russell , in the commission of an offence namely, drug trafficking.  Contrary to Section 21 of the Drug (Prevention  of  Misuse) Act Cap 04.07.

Towards the end of the week one of the attorneys reported and alleged that some or all of the accused had been encouraged or coerced in appearing at court after being charged without the opportunity to speak meaningfully with the attorneys in any way, where they pleaded guilty and were remanded to await sentencing.

The attorneys report that they will move to have those pleas reversed and will move that their constitutional rights had been violated.

The foregoing was TMR’s report up to October 30, but on the following day there was a surprising development.

 Press excluded from hearing Court proceedings

On November 1 the charged most of whom had already entered guilty pleas appeared in Court, this time with one of the Attorneys. When the matter was called with the temporary acting Magistrate Colin Meade (substantive ECSC High Court Registrar in Montserrat) on the bench, he was petitioned by the DPP Sullivan, to exclude the press from the proceedings and for reporting on them. The general ground for the request was for reasons of ‘National Security’ as the investigations were still ongoing. The Ag Magistrate with opposition arguments from Attorney Warren Cassell ruled accordingly in favour of the request from the DPP. The only press personnel present, Bennette Roach of The Montserrat Reporter was asked to leave the Magistrate’s Court.

Official court sources later informed that the matters were adjourned to a later date, while the accused were returned to jail, with bail refused the resident accused, on grounds that he would not be able to contaminate witnesses or assist other persons who may be charged with the ongoing investigations.

A request for permission to obtain photographs of the accuseds was denied but it was later discovered the request never reached the Magistrate.

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Drug arrests – smuggling drugs into Montserrat

by Bennette Roach

Davy Hill – Nov 3, 2017

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Police turned up at the John Osborne Airport on Saturday morning October 21, 2017, to continue what they later, but at first denied they had informed anyone of their actions as they investigated three young men and then another, all reportedly Jamaican nationals on drug related charges. By the end of this week the police may have bungled badly the case against these accused men, or some of them, as they reportedly coerced them, obtaining guilty pleas from them, while constantly, according to attorneys denying them their Constitutional rights to being able to consult with them in a timely manner.

TMR first learned on Saturday morning what the Royal Montserrat Police later reported, they apprehended four Jamaican nationals (one resident in Montserrat) who allegedly smuggled illegal drugs into Montserrat on Friday evening shortly after arriving at the John A Osborne airport.

The police were reported to say, “the Jamaican nationals were interviewed by members of the integrated border security unit when they began acting in a suspicious manner. As a result the men were taken to the police headquarters in Brades, where one of them started vomiting what appeared to be an illegal substance. The police then noticed that the substance was marijuana sealed in a saran wrap…”

The report continued that one or more of them “were taken to the Glendon hospital where they further threw up additional packages of the illegal substance…”

The report confirmed our earlier information of the apprehension and arrest of another resident Jamaican national who reportedly colluded with the men to ‘smuggle’ the drugs into the island.

As to the bungling of the matter by the police creates the potential, to lose before the courts, as attorneys who tried to meet with the detained and arrested, were repeatedly prevented from seeing or speaking to their clients.

Some of the men have already been to the courts and have pleaded guilty without the benefit of an audience with the Attorneys, who point out that they were denied their Constitutional rights. They cite Section 6 which in part states: “Any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right, at any stage and at his or her own expense, to retain and instruct without delay a legal representative of his or her own choice, and to hold private communication with him or her…”

Their clients complain that they were denied access to contact their relatives, which the attorneys note violates the same section of the Constitution: “…Every person who is arrested shall be informed, in a language that he or she understands and as soon as possible after he or she is brought to a police station or other place of custody, of his or her rights under subsection (3); and that person shall also have the right, and shall be informed and that person shall also have the right, and shall be informed at the same time that he or she has the right, to remain silent and to have one person informed by the quickest practicable means of his or her arrest and whereabouts.

The accused were charged generally with the following: Conspiracy to Engage in Drug Trafficking. Conspiracy to import a controlled Drug; Drug Trafficking; Possession of Cannabis Sativa with intent to supply; Possession of Cannabis Sativa Contrary to varying clauses of Section 7 of the Drugs (Prevention  of  Misuse)  Act Cap 4.07 of the Revised  Laws of Montserrat 2013, and Common Law.

In one instance the resident accused was charged with Assisting in the commission of an offence  outside  of  Montserrat:  between the 1st day of October 2017 and the 20th day of October 2017 in a place outside of Montserrat namely , Antigua, assisted Shanardo Morrison,  Richard Russell and Christopher Russell , in the commission of an offence namely, drug trafficking.  Contrary to Section 21 of the Drug (Prevention  of  Misuse) Act Cap 04.07.

Towards the end of the week one of the attorneys reported and alleged that some or all of the accused had been encouraged or coerced in appearing at court after being charged without the opportunity to speak meaningfully with the attorneys in any way, where they pleaded guilty and were remanded to await sentencing.

The attorneys report that they will move to have those pleas reversed and will move that their constitutional rights had been violated.

The foregoing was TMR’s report up to October 30, but on the following day there was a surprising development.

 Press excluded from hearing Court proceedings

On November 1 the charged most of whom had already entered guilty pleas appeared in Court, this time with one of the Attorneys. When the matter was called with the temporary acting Magistrate Colin Meade (substantive ECSC High Court Registrar in Montserrat) on the bench, he was petitioned by the DPP Sullivan, to exclude the press from the proceedings and for reporting on them. The general ground for the request was for reasons of ‘National Security’ as the investigations were still ongoing. The Ag Magistrate with opposition arguments from Attorney Warren Cassell ruled accordingly in favour of the request from the DPP. The only press personnel present, Bennette Roach of The Montserrat Reporter was asked to leave the Magistrate’s Court.

Official court sources later informed that the matters were adjourned to a later date, while the accused were returned to jail, with bail refused the resident accused, on grounds that he would not be able to contaminate witnesses or assist other persons who may be charged with the ongoing investigations.

A request for permission to obtain photographs of the accuseds was denied but it was later discovered the request never reached the Magistrate.