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Trinidadian man awaits fate

Trinidadian man awaits fate


Trinidadian Gabriel Jason Harper will have to wait until August 4th to know his fate regarding charges of drug possession, illegal entry and the forfeiture of his fishing boat.{{more}}

On Wednesday, July 16, Harper was about to be sentenced following his guilty plea the day before but prosecutor Station Sergeant Nigel Butcher made an application for the forfeiture of the pirogue on which was Harper was apprehended by police on April 15.

Harper, along with Junior Hunte and Kenron Hepburn, was apprehended after a brief chase by members of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard and the Rapid Response Unit in the Walliabou Beach area on the Leeward coast.

A search of the vessel turned up a red bag containing 660 grams of marijuana, 662 grams of cocaine and 54 grams of heroin.

Hepburn and Hunte pleaded not guilty to the charges while Harper accepted responsibility.

Speaking on his client’s behalf, attorney Ronald Marks indicated that Harper was given the marijuana and cocaine for an offshore fishing trawler and not for the mainland, while the heroin was for his own use.

Marks claimed that bad weather and engine problems forced the fisherman to shore to seek shelter and help to repair his boat, before returning to his native land.

It was during that time that he was apprehended.

The lawyer pleaded for leniency for his client, whom he claimed should be given credit for his guilty plea, and had already spent the equivalent of four and a half months in custody.

Court records, however, revealed that the part time auto body worker was arrested and charged with the possession of 3,859 grams of marijuana in 2005 in Bequia.

He was fined and deported for that offense.

When Harper returns to the Serious Offenses Court in just under three weeks, Chief Magistrate Sonia Young will then determine whether the 37 year old will spend more time in prison, pay a fine and/or lose his vessel.