A Bequia man was on Wednesday jailed for cocaine possession after a colourful trial in which he accused police of weighing together “ganja fudge” and cocaine they found at his house.
“It is very conclusive that you are guilty. I find you so guilty. Your evidence didn’t help you at all,” Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias told McArthur Leach, 36, of Port Elizabeth, Bequia, before sentencing him to six months in prison.
Leach was charged with possession of four grammes of cocaine.
The court heard that police officers were on their way to Leach’s house to execute a warrant on Dec. 29, 2016 when they met him in the street near his house.
Leach told the court that he was on his way to the Port Elizabeth Police Station, having been summoned there by police to give a statement in relation to a stolen item.
He said he knew that his house was “clean” and, therefore, did not object to going back there with the police officers.
During the search, police found a white powdery substance in one room and a brown solid substance in another room. The substances were cocaine and amounted to four grammes, when they were weighed in Leach’s presence at the Port Elizabeth police station.
But while Leach did not deny that the cocaine was found at his property, he sought to suggest that it belonged to someone else, who he claimed was living at the house also.
He further disputed how much cocaine was actually found.
“They add a piece ah ganja fudge that they find in the fridge,” he volunteered.
Responding to a question from Delplesche, Leach said he could make anything from ganja, adding that the police know nothing about cocaine, and that the drug that they found was in fact two grammes in weight.
“I don’t know what kind ah scale they have they. Like they add the ganja fudge to it. I think that thing they find in the shine paper, which is milk, that can’t even add up to one gramme.
During cross examination by prosecutor, Adolphus Delplesche, Leach told the court that the police would come to his house from time to time to search for drugs and guns.
“Are you a drug dealer?” Delplesche asked.
“I ain’t no drug dealer like how you say. Pharmacist is a drug dealer,” he said, but admitted, in response to a question from the prosecutor, that police had found cocaine on his person in the street before.
“You can’t know if I am a dealer or a smoker. That you will never get from me” he told Delplesche when pressed.
“You are a cocaine jumbie. I am putting it to you,” Delplesche retorted, noting the colloquial meaning of “cocaine jumbie” — a cocaine addict.
“I am a human being, whether a cocaine jumbie or not,” Leach said.
After he was found guilty, Leach asked the chief magistrate to impose a fine on him — “a little small thing.”
The magistrate asked the prosecution’s opinion and Delplesche said that Leach has five previous convictions for cocaine.
“It would appear that this is his way of life,” Delplesche said, adding that he has no mercy or discretion for persons guilty of gun and cocaine offences.
He told the chief magistrate that he was recommending a custodial sentence.
The magistrate pointed out to Leach his five previous convictions for cocaine, adding that he also has four other convictions for serious offences, but did not detail them.
Browne-Matthias said that cocaine is not grown locally and is not “local vegetation as some would say” — a reference to marijuana, which is also illegal in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
She said she has low tolerance for cocaine offences, adding that she did not think that a fine would be appropriate.
After the six months imprisonment sentence was handed down, Leach muttered, “For four grammes of cocaine, your worship?”
Update: This story has been corrected to reflect the convicted man’s correct surname.