A 19-year-old man whose only certificate is from the Drug Addiction Resistance Education (DARE) was last week fined EC$2,500 for marijuana possession.
Emrie Holder of Belair pleaded guilty to a charge that on Oct. 11 at Belair, he had in his possession 1,010 grammes (2.2lbs) of cannabis with intent to supply to another.
He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne Matthias at the Serious Offences Court on Wednesday.
The court heard that police stationed in Calliaqua were on mobile patrol in Belair around 10 a.m. when they saw the defendant at a shop with a black JanSport bag over his shoulder.
The police approached Holder, identified themselves and requested a search of the bag, to which he consented.
Inside of the backpack, the police officers found a black plastic bag containing plant-like material resembling cannabis.
When he was cautioned, Holder told the police officer, “Officers, I was just carrying the drugs by Top Belair to sell.”
Asked what he had to say for himself, the defendant did not say anything.
The magistrate, in an apparent attempt to assist him, asked if she should send him to jail, to which he responded, “No please.”
Asked why, Holder said, “Because I would pay the money.”
The man told the court that he got to Form 3 in school before he was expelled for fighting.
He said he went on to learn auto repair.
Asked what certificates he has, Holder told the court a DARE certificate that he received when he was in primary school.
Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told Holder that he has breached the DARE certificate “because DARE says you mustn’t deal with drugs”.
Holder told the court that he was going to computer classes, and the magistrate encouraged the man to get certified as an auto mechanic also, noting to him that vehicles today are very sophisticated.
In sentencing the man, she told him that he had displayed poor behaviour from early, resulting in his expulsion from school.
She told him that the only thing he had to his credit in the case was the he had no previous conviction but said he wasn’t paying attention during the school because he has a DARE certificate and yet had gotten involved in drugs.
Browne-Matthias encouraged the defendant to pay attention to his appearance, telling him his appearance might have been the first signal to the police to check him for drug possession.
“Regrettably, that’s how society works,” she said, adding that a person could very well be law-abiding notwithstanding their appearance.