A Union Island man who police nabbed with 37,774 grammes (83 lbs) of marijuana may now be thinking that it was probably not such a good idea to tell them that he had been convicted for drug possession overseas.
Now, because of that information, Bastien Dember has to wait until the prosecution gets a response from Interpol regarding any criminal record he has in other jurisdictions before he is sentenced.
Coast Guard personnel, led by Able Seaman 873 Hutchins, were patrolling the Barrouallie Harbour aboard the vessel SVG 14 around 5:35 p.m. on July 25, when they saw a pirogue travelling south.
The coast guard gave chase and saw a man jump overboard.
That person was taken from the water and identified himself to the coast guard officers as Lenroy Edwards of Petit Bordel.
Hutchins ordered the pirogue to stop. The pirogue was 22 feet long and had the words “Blue Marlin Tax” written on the exterior. It was outfitted with a 40-horse power Yamaha outboard engine.
The operator complied and also consented to a search of the vessel.
During the search, the law enforcement officers found three nylon sacks containing six brown packages containing marijuana.
While Edwards denied knowledge of the drug, Dember told the coast guard officers, “Officer, we just get a work.”
Dember and Edwards were charged and Dember pleaded guilty when he was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.
The magistrate transferred the case to the Serious Offences Court for sentencing.
In presenting the facts on Thursday, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told the court that Dember might have convictions in another jurisdiction.
He noted that Dember had given that information to police.
The prosecutor said that the prosecution was asking for an opportunity to verify that information so that the court could properly sentence Dember.
But defence counsel, Grant Connell, noted that when his client appeared before Burnett, the facts were read and he had already offered mitigation on behalf of his client.
“It was put off to the next day and the magistrate took the Pontius Pilate approach. What is your role? Crucifier?” the lawyer told the chief magistrate.
Delplesche confirmed to the court what Grant had said, but noted that the law provides for a case to be transferred anytime before sentencing.
But the defence said that he had no objection to the senior magistrate recusing himself from the case at the inception.
He said it can’t be fair for his client to go back to jail in the circumstances while awaiting a response from Interpol “in this .com era”.
“We are in the inbox, they are in the post box,” he said, referring to the police.
But the magistrate rejected the assertion that the police are still in the post box era, saying that soon, the police would be at the stage where they can pull up a person’s record digitally in court, as Connell had suggested.
Dember returns to court on Tuesday, Aug. 7.