A father of two children ages 1 and 2 years old whose lawyer described him as “a sharpshooter” as far as procreation is concerned, has been fined EC$2,800 for marijuana possession.
The man, Raffique Williams, 26, of Rose Bank, was ordered to pay the fine during a trial at the Serious Offences Court on Wednesday.
Williams, along with Rasheen Edwards, also of Rose Bank, was charged that on Oct. 2, they had 1,431 grammes (3.15 lbs) of cannabis in their possession in Kingstown with intent to supply it to another.
Williams had pleaded guilty, while Edwards maintained his innocence when they were first arraigned.
However, the matter was adjourned to Wednesday, when the men entered the same pleas.
The court heard that about 4 p.m. on Oct. 2, PC Francis headed a party of narcotics personnel on duty in Kingstown.
PC17 Alfred, who was a member of the party, was patrolling the area behind the Registry and Income Tax buildings when he saw the defendants in the parking lot behind the General Post Office.
Both officers approached the defendants and identified themselves and requested a search of a bag that they had.
The search found taped packages containing plant-like material resembling cannabis.
The men were cautioned and Edwards responded, “Is ah rental we come pick up and this is the only way I can pay for it.”
Williams said, “Same story, nothing changed.”
The men were arrested and charged.
After Williams accepted the facts as presented by the Crown, the charge against his co-accused was withdrawn.
In the sentencing phase of the proceedings, defence counsel Carlos James pointed out that the defendant is a 26 year old father of two children, ages 1 and 2.
“He is a sharp shooter,” the lawyer commented.
“Clearly,” the magistrate responded.
James further told the court that Williams is the caretaker of his six-member family, which includes his elderly parents.
The lawyer said it was his client’s first offence, adding that during their conference, his client had commented on how stupid his actions were and how sorry he was that he had engaged in them.
He said that Williams, a sailor, has been home for some time and is yet to be recalled to the ship.
James told the court that Williams is without any financial means and got himself into the wrong crowd, but is remorseful and has learnt from his lesson.
Citing a Court of Appeal ruling, James told the court that a first-time offender with the possibility of rehabilitation should not be incarcerated.
He asked the court to impose a fine, saying that his client has a bright future once he stays on the right path.
He said that his client had brought EC$500 to court and asked the court that should that not be a sufficient fine that Williams be given time to pay.
The magistrate noted that Williams had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and said she did not think that a custodial sentence would be appropriate in the circumstances.
She imposed a fined of EC$2,800 but told the man that he would have to “do better than $500”.
Browne-Matthias ordered Williams to pay $1,000 forthwith or six months in prison.
She also ordered him to pay the remainder by Dec. 29 or go to jail for ten months.
“Can you give me a little more time, please?” the man pleaded.
The magistrate reconsidered and ordered him to pay the remaining EC$1,800 by Jan. 31, 2018 or spend 10 months in jail.
“So try to hustle your hand — legally,” the magistrate told the man, who had told the court that the mother of his children is a recent graduate who is unemployed.