18-year-old pressured into taking the rap for 28 pounds of weed
Because she believed an 18-year-old to have been pressured into taking the rap for possession of 28 pounds of cannabis, the Chief Magistrate chose not to imprison the teen.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne, while sentencing Campden Park resident BJ Garrick on September 4 at the Serious Offences Court, said that she had considered a number of things in deciding the sentence for the young man.
She had considered the quantity of the drug, as well as the nature of the drug, she began. Further, she noted that Garrick had been charged alongside two men in their 20s and 30s. These men, Okeno Edwards, and Vincent Edwards were discharged the day before, after Garrick entered a guilty plea.
“I have come to the conclusion that your role was a lesser one,” she stated. She believed that because of his youth, Garrick was open to pressure and intimidation.
The facts are that Okeno, Vincent and Garrick were stopped by the Rapid Response Unit (RRU), that was patrolling on the Leeward side on August 24, at around 2:30 pm. At the time, the party saw a white Nissan, P2432, heading to them, coming from the direction of Spring Village. The police signaled the driver of this vehicle to stop and Vincent, complied. Corporal John enquired if they had anything in the vehicle to “disclose” and Vincent pointed at Okeno and said “He have some weed in the back of the car.” In the trunk, the RRU discovered a blue and white rice sack with two taped packages inside of it. A cut to the tightly sealed, rolled packages, revealed a plant-like material resembling cannabis. Under caution, Vincent again pointed the finger of blame at Okeno. Okeno did not say anything. Garrick claimed that it was a ride the men gave him and he knew nothing about the Marijuana. When they got to the station, Garrick changed his story, saying “Officer is mine.”
“Your vulnerability was exploited,” the chief magistrate said, “you were the scapegoat.”
Further, at 18 years, he had no previous convictions, she commented. After reducing the sentence because of these mitigating features, the magistrate arrived at a non custodial sentence.
It was ordered that $5000 was to be paid forthwith, or Garrick will spend four months in prison. The balance of $8000 should be paid by October 4, or the teen will spend a further eight months incarcerated.
When he was asked the day before his sentencing what he expected the court to do, the 18-year-old replied, “Charge me a fine your honour.” When he was asked how he would pay for it, the defendant said that someone was going to pay it for him.
The Chief Magistrate asked “Oh is the two that walk out?” Garrick’s response made her think this was the case, and she said “Exactly what it is”. For whatever reason, the two defendants that had been discharged, Okeno and Vincent Edwards, were waiting outside of the court on the day after their charges were withdrawn.
The 18-year-old gave his reason for his involvement in the crime as taking care of his 11-year-old sister. His mother was not employed, he explained, and the father was not in the picture.