One week after a Norwegian chef was told the weekend he spent in custody was enough punishment for a rock of cocaine, a Vincentian man was fined EC$150 for a similar quantity of the drug.
On Dec. 3, at the Serious Offences Court, Dan Martinsen, 29, of Norway, pleaded guilty to a charge that on Nov. 30, at Port Elizabeth, Bequia, he had in his possession a controlled drug, to wit, 0.30 grammes of cocaine.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne sentenced him to time served on remand.
One week later, on Dec. 10, Ephraim Matthias, 52, a farmer, of Owia, pleaded guilty to a charge that on Dec. 9, at Owia, he had in his possession one rock of cocaine.
The matter would ordinarily have been heard at the Serious Offences Court, which is on recess until Jan 2, 2019.
As he sometimes does, Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett asked the prosecutor to comment on the sentence that the Serious Offences Court is likely to impose in such a case.
He also asked counsel Grant Connell, who happened to have been at the bar table to comment.
Connell told the court that the sentence that is likely to be imposed depends on who the defendant is.
Noting the case of the Norwegian the previous week, Connell told the court that if Matthias spent one night in custody, that night is justification for no fine.
The magistrate asked the lawyer if he was saying that the chief magistrate had set precedence with her ruling one week earlier.
Connell said, “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
He said he was not saying that the chief magistrate’s ruling last week was binding on the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.
Connell, however, said that for such a quantity of the drug, the Serious Offences Court would impose a small fine.
In his submission, Prosecutor Sergeant Renwick Cato told the court that he has a different view to cocaine, as opposed to marijuana, which, he noted, is grown in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The prosecutor pointed out that the defendant has no previous convictions and it’s only one rock of cocaine.
He said that the fine is generally around EC$250.
Burnett said that he wanted to be consistent with what applies at the Serious Offences Court.
After standing down the matter for a few moments, he fined the man EC$150 to be paid by Dec. 28 or one month in jail.