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Two charges against Vincentians dropped in BVI

Two charges against  Vincentians dropped in BVI

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Dexter Chance, Gareth McDowall and Carlos Sutherland have two fewer court matters to worry about, as Senior Magistrate Valerie Stephens on Wednesday, March 23, dismissed the charges of conspiracy to import a controlled drug and unlawful possession of cocaine laid against them.{{more}}

The three Vincentians men, who were extradited to the British Virgin Islands, are currently on trial in relation to a major drug bust back in 2008.

In a report from the BVPLATINUMNEWS, the magistrate, however, ruled that the charge of importation of controlled drugs remains.

The ruling came after submissions were made by lawyers for the men, which stated that the complaints against the men were not laid in time.

There are seven men, including four men from the BVI, who are charged in the case. The four from the BVI are: Dale Nibbs, Mario Pemberton, Asif Glasgow and Coy Penn.

The article also said that the ruling also saw the charge of conspiracy to import a controlled drug being dismissed from the locals. However, they are still charged with importation of cocaine, unlawful possession of cocaine and conspiracy for the supply of cocaine.

On January 23, 2008, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force seized and searched a chartered catamaran moored at Hodges Creek and found some 61 kilos of cocaine onboard the vessel.

The trial was scheduled to commence on Monday, but that day’s proceedings were filled with applications to which Stephens ruled on Wednesday.

The paper reported that the ruling by Stephens presents an avenue for lawyers to make further applications this time for the court not to hear the case of importation of cocaine against the three Vincentians.

Appearing on McDowall’s behalf, attorney Patrick Thompson said the court ought not to embark on a trial against his client from St. Vincent, since it does not have the authority to hear the matter. He said McDowall was not in the BVI on the date stated in the complaint.

Thompson, who cited several examples, argued that the Magistrate’s Court is limited to hearing matters which relate to offences committed and which occurred in the BVI. He said with all fairness to his client, if the charge of conspiracy had stood, then the court could have heard the trial, but the lone charge of importation cannot work.

Thompson said importation clearly means the bringing in of something and exporting is the taking out of something. He said McDowall could not bring anything into the BVI on the date in question when he was not in the BVI on that date.

The lawyer further argued that he is using the definition of the word importation as it relates to the Customs Act, since the Drugs Act does not define importation. He said according to the Customs Act, it simply means the bringing in or arrival of such drugs. “…But McDowall never set foot in the BVI on that date set out in the complaint by the Crown.”

He said based on the allegations against his client, he may have conspired with others, “but that is no longer here.”

Thompson said with all fairness to his client, it is alleged that he exported items from St. Vincent to the BVI. This, the lawyer said, is something that has to be tried in St. Vincent, where it is alleged by BVI authorities that he exported the drugs from, to the BVI.

Lawyers for the other two Vincentians adopted Thompson’s submission.

The crown said it will need time to respond to the submission. The matter was then set for yesterday, Thursday, March 24.