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Lisa Hooper found guilty of cocaine possession

Lisa Hooper found guilty of cocaine possession


Jomo Thomas, lawyer for Lisa Hooper, says he will appeal the decision of magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias, who on Wednesday, at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, found Hooper guilty on three cocaine related charges.{{more}}

Hooper, 23, of Campden was fined $27,000 for possession of 1,235 grammes of cocaine. She was ordered to pay $13,500 forthwith or spend two years in jail.

Up to press time, the forthwith fine had not been paid.

Hooper has until June 23, 2014 to pay the remainder. In default, she will spend two years in jail.

On the charges of conspiracy to export and drug trafficking, Hooper was sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence on each charge.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT following the decision, Thomas expressed disappointment in the judgement handed down by the court.

“I really thought we had done sufficiently, particularly where we spoke to the law of possession, export and trafficking. We were very, very disappointed with the decision of the court and I can tell you we will appeal,” Thomas told SEARCHLIGHT.

Thomas also noted that he does not think that anyone should be made to pay a fine that amounts to a jail term.

“If you tell somebody to pay the money forthwith and here you have this l Continued from Page 6

young lady’s family scrambling to pay the money tomorrow, you are essentially sentencing the person to jail and the Court of Appeal has pronounced clearly on that. You just can’t give a fine that amounts to a jail term, because the person might not be able to meet the amount of money at that time,” Thomas stated.

In handing down her decision, the magistrate said she looked at a number of factors and considered each charge individually in the case before coming to her decision.

In his mitigation, Thomas said Hooper and Smith were “small cubs” in a sophisticated chain that packaged certain high quality contraband.

He further added that there was no evidence that drug was produced in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“One of the unfortunate things in this case is that our national security network did not work to its fullest, in the sense that the people who would benefit most are not the ones before the court today,” Thomas further mitigated.

Thomas said his client has endured a tremendous amount of shame and said that has been punishment itself.

Thomas asked that a fine be imposed on Hooper, instead of confining her.

“The fine should be one that sends a message to other persons that they can’t take the law lightly and we ask the fine act as a deterrent,” Thomas said.

He also asked that Hooper be given six to nine months to make good on the payment of the fine.

The incidents occurred between July 1 and 24, 2013, at the E.T. Joshua Airport.

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

Hooper denied ever supplying Smith with the cans.

Senior prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Adolphus Delpeche led the case for the prosecution.(KW)