A 21-year-old Community College graduate was, on Wednesday, given a chance to make something of himself after Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias expunged his record on a marijuana conviction.
The youth, who graduated from one of the nation’s single-sex schools with seven subjects and is trained in refrigeration and air conditioning, had pleaded guilty to possession of 256 grammes (0.56lb) of marijuana with intent to supply.
The youth was arrested around 12:40 p.m. on Dec. 5, 2015 in Rose Hall, some 30 miles away from where he lives in another part of St. Vincent.
“Officer, is a brethren give me that as payment for a phone,” the youth told police when cautioned about possession of the illegal substance.
The man had no antecedents.
“I’m sorry. If I could have, I would have changed the past,” the man told the chief magistrate when asked what he had to say for himself.
The magistrate noted that the man was caught with the drug a long way from where he lives.
Answers to her questions revealed that the man graduated with passes in food and nutrition, electronic document preparation and management, English language, integrated science, and, among others, home management.
He, however, said he was having difficulties finding a job.
“You could cook?” the magistrate said, noting the youth’s qualifications in food and nutrition.
“Yes, please,” the soft-spoken man said in the same polite manner characteristic throughout his appearance in court.
“And you have home management to bolster that,” she said.
The defendant said he would be willing to do that if offered an opportunity.
“You have to create that opportunity,” Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche said.
“That is the problem we are having. People are waiting for others to create opportunities,” Delplesche added.
The man told the magistrate that before being hospitalised in November, he used to smoke marijuana, but quit after being discharged.
iWitness News understands that the man’s father died of the same non-communicable condition for which he was hospitalised.
As the magistrate contemplated the sentence, Delplesche asked to be excused to speak with someone outside the court.
When he returned, the senior prosecutor told the court that he had done a social inquiry in the youth.
He said he was, therefore, recommending that the youth be reprimanded and discharged.
The magistrate said she was also thinking of invoking Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which would treat the man as if he never appeared before her and was never found guilty of a crime.
Delplesche said he agreed.
The magistrate urged the man to use his talents to improve his circumstances, telling him that the Bible teaches that those who do not use their talents lose them.
“Start small, ensure your environment is clean and build on that,” she told the youth.
After the man was discharged, Delplesche asked him to wait outside the court so that he could have a chat with him.
iWitness News understands that the man’s mother has an on-going medical condition.