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45-year-old fined $16,000 for cannabis possession


After being ordered to pay a fine of $16,000 for cannabis possession, Lowmans Leeward resident Herman Baptiste said he does not mind going to prison.{{more}}

“Your worship, me na think me could pay that ah na…,” Baptiste said, as the sentence was passed yesterday at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.

Failure to pay that fine in four months will result in a three-year custodial sentence for Baptiste.

The 45-year-old farmer pleaded guilty to possession of 16,344 grams (36 pounds) of marijuana on January 20, 2012.

When Senior Magistrate Donald Browne told Baptiste’s counsel Ronald Marks that, if his client could not pay the fine, he was minded to send him to prison, Baptiste stood in the box and said he did not mind.

The court heard that members of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) were on mobile patrol in the Lowmans mountains, when the met Baptiste in a hut near to a marijuana plantation.

When cautioned by police officers, Baptiste replied, “Officer, me ah try mek ah living.”

Marks pointed out that his client had difficulties selling his produce and was just “trying a thing”. Marks further stated that his client was not the principal owner of the plantation and that he was just assisting.(KW)