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Mother pleads guilty to marijuana possession

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Judy Baptiste admitted to the Serious Offences Court that she only kept marijuana at her home to sell so that she could take care of her nine children.{{more}}

The 42-year-old unemployed woman of Ottley Hall pleaded guilty on Wednesday to possession of 329 grams of cannabis with intent to supply. Baptiste was jointly charged with her 13-year-old daughter but the child’s charge was dropped after she pleaded not guilty. Baptiste was fined $375 in one month or she will spend a month behind bars. She paid $75 forthwith.

The court heard that on March 17 at approximately 4:30pm, officers of the Criminal Investigations Department of the police force went to the Baptiste’s house to execute a search warrant. A quantity of cannabis was found under a mattress in one of the bedrooms. She denied knowledge of the drug.

A further search turned up a small icebox containing two packages of cannabis. When cautioned by the officers, Baptiste replied, “Officer is mine, ah man bring it from Leeward and is fo me to sell fo mind me children ah dem.” A sum of money amounting to $4.25 was also found in a plastic jar. Baptiste told the police that the money was from the sale of two “bombs” (cannabis).

With raised eyebrows, Magistrate Young said she could not understand why a woman who is unemployed would have nine children. “I can’t wrap this one around my head. I just can’t see a single woman with a string band of children doing such a thing. This does not lend itself to my sympathy or leniency,” Young commented.

In a plea of mitigation, Baptiste’s Lawyer, Sylvester Raymond-Cadette, told the court that the woman was the sole breadwinner of nine children ranging from ages 2-18. Raymond-Cadette further asked Magistrate Young to exercise leniency towards his client. He also explained that the 13-year-old child had just returned from school when she was caught up in the incident.

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