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Former LIAT pilot returns to SVG minus job, Bds$250,000

Former LIAT pilot returns to SVG minus job, Bds$250,000

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Tue, Jan 31. 2012

Vincentian pilot Keith Richard Otway Allen is now back home in St Vincent and the Grenadines short of EC$337,500 and without a job.{{more}}

It took a quarter million Barbadian dollars for Allen, who formerly worked with LIAT, to secure his freedom last Thursday, two months after trying to smuggle marijuana into Barbados.

Less than three hours after paying three fines totalling Bds$250,000 (EC$337,500), Allen walked out of the District “F” Magistrates’ Court in Barbados and into the custody of immigration authorities who were required to ensure that he returned to St Vincent by last Friday.

Allen’s former employer LIAT issued a release on Friday confirming the termination of their employment relationship with First Officer Allen with effect from December 2, 2011.

And while his case is now closed, Magistrate Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell told Allen that his actions had opened the door for “suspicion” of other pilots passing through the Grantley Adams International Airport.

She fined him $100,000 forthwith, or five years in prison for trafficking the 65 pounds of cannabis last year. For each of the charges of importation and intent to supply Allen was fined $75,000 forthwith, with an alternative of four years’ imprisonment.

The 34-year-old was convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the possession charge.

The fines imposed by the magistrate coincided with what defence attorney Sir Richard Cheltenham QC had recommended during his mitigation which followed Allen’s December 2 guilty plea.

Smith-Bovell said she had taken into consideration Allen’s early guilty plea, his age, that he had cooperated with police and appeared genuinely remorseful, and that his character witnesses – two clergymen – had testified that his actions were out of character.

“Fortunately for the accused, the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors,” Smith-Bovell said, in handing down her sentence.

“Nonetheless, I also have to consider the impact that such an offence has on society. What the court finds disturbing is that the accused is a respectable and upstanding member of society, for want of a better way of putting it, [who] would have used his position as a pilot to commit such an offence . . .

“By his action, he has opened up all pilots travelling through the airport to some degree of suspicion by police officers.”

Allen had arrived in Barbados on a LIAT flight from St Vincent on November 23, wearing his uniform, but not on duty, when officers from the Drug Squad searched his luggage and found two packages of marijuana in his pilot’s bag and another six packages in his pulley.

Smith-Bovell said that, based on his background

and social position, it was clear that profit was Allen’s motive.

Allen had told police that he was offered $5,000 to bring in the drugs which had a street value of $130,000.(Barbados Nation)

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