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Defendant confused about cocaine accusation

Defendant confused about cocaine accusation

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Lisa Hooper said she found it strange that the man she took care of while he vacationed here last year, would lie about Hairoun beverage cans filled with cocaine — stating that it was she who brought them for him to take back to England.{{more}}

Hooper is currently on trial at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court for possession of 1,235 grams of cocaine, and two charges of conspiracy to export and drug trafficking, between July 1 and 24, 2013, at the E.T. Joshua Airport.

Her former co-accused, Nathan Smith of Kent, England, who pleaded guilty to similar charges and received a two-year prison sentence, told the court that it was Hooper who brought him a can each of Presidente beer, Vitamalt, and Hairoun beer, which police later discovered were filled with cocaine, following a search of Smith’s luggage at the E.T. Joshua Airport on July 24, 2013.

Although Hooper elected not to give sworn testimony in court, she was cross- examined on a video interview at the Central Police station, which was conducted by investigating officers PC 272 Chris John and Station Sergeant Pedro Harry.

During cross-examination by senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche, Hooper said her boyfriend, Garfield Mattis, a Jamaican living in the United Kingdom, told her in June 2013 that Smith was coming to St Vincent on a holiday and asked that she book a hotel for Smith — a man she said she had never heard of before then.

According to her, Mattis sent money only once for her to pay for the hotel for Smith.

Hooper told the court that Mattis also sent money for her personally, to pay bills, take care of the home and their two-year-old child.

During a search of her home by Narcotics personnel, a quantity of Western Union Money Transfer receipts in Hooper’s name was discovered, totalling thousands of dollars sent over a period of eight months by Mattis.

Most of the transactions, officers said, were done in July 2013, around the time when Smith was here.

Hooper said she had never had any disputes or any issues with Smith while he spent his time here at the Hotel Alexandrina.

During his stay, she bought groceries for Smith and even took him to the beach.

“Do you know of any reason why Smith would lie on you to say you brought these things?” Delpesche asked.

“I don’t know of any reason..,” she replied.

“The only lie Smith told was the one when he said you brought the items for him. Don’t you find it strange that your boyfriend’s friend, having treated him so nice, would turn around and lie on you?”

Hooper replied, “Yes, please!”

Delpesche then sought to question Hooper extensively about her relationship with Mattis.

Hooper indicated that she met Mattis on her first trip to London in 2009 and they have a child together.

She said Mattis owns a business – a boutique and taxi service in Jamaica, while he operates a barbershop and sells clothing in England.

“How old is Garfield?” Delpesche asked.

“That is something I’m not really sure of. I think he’s 29,” Hooper replied.

“How long has he been living in the UK?”

“I’m not sure,” she replied.

When asked about the location of his barber shop and clothes selling businesses, Hooper said she did not know where he operates.

“He never invited you to the barber shop,” Delpesche questioned.

Hooper replied, “No please!”

“How do you know he operates these things?” Delpesche asked.

“He tells me!” Hooper replied.

“It is possible he could be lying?”

“I don’t think it’s possible because he is the one who provides me with my child’s clothing and everything she needs,” Hooper said.

Hooper told the court that when she visited England in 2009 and 2010, she stayed with her aunts in Basingstoke and High Wycombe.

On both visits, where she spent approximately a year and six months, respectively, Hooper said she never visited Mattis’ home in Tottenham, but stated that he would visit her where she stayed.

She said she visited Tottenham, but would only meet Mattis at the shopping mall there.

“You would agree with me that he could have been getting money from other sources other than barbering and clothes?” asked the prosecutor.

“I don’t agree! I believe he sells clothing and does barbering,” she replied.

The case resumes today, with submissions from the prosecutor and Hooper’s lawyer, Jomo Thomas.

Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias is presiding over the matter.

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