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Former national footballer fined $16,500 on drug-related offences

Former national footballer fined $16,500 on drug-related offences

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Former national footballer Maxwell Bennett on Tuesday pleaded guilty to two drug-related offences at the Serious Offences Court.{{more}}

Bennett, 45, a resident of Calliaqua, pleaded guilty to possession of 10 pounds of marijuana and for having 10 pounds of marijuana for the purpose of drug trafficking, on August 26, 2013, at Kingstown.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias fined Bennett $16,500 on the drug trafficking charge, to be paid by April 2, 2015, or he will spend two and a half years in jail.

On the possession charge, Bennett was fined $5,500, with $3,000 to be paid forthwith. He was ordered to pay the balance by December 2 or spend nine months in jail.

As the fines were being read out, Bennett was observed using a rag he pulled from one of the pockets of his pants to wipe the tears.

According to the facts, Bennett who was at the time an employee of the Postal Corporation, assigned to the front office in the delivery area, left his post and went outside.

He later returned with a black plastic bag containing four brown envelopes and took them to a certain area of post office. The facts revealed that Bennett borrowed the post office stamp from a worker and placed the packages in a mail bag destined for Barbados.

Bennett then left and returned to his post at front office.

A police officer who was on duty at the post office retrieved the brown envelopes that he saw Bennett placing in the mail bag. The officer observed an address and two $5 dollar postage stamps on the envelopes, along with green labels on the back.

The police officer subsequently took the mailbag and its contents to the head of security at post office.

The head of security cut open one of the brown packages, which was sealed with glue and stapled and observed the envelope contained a Ziploc plastic bag and a rectangular object covered with carbon paper, which turned out to be marijuana.

The narcotics division of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force was contacted and the matter was investigated.

Bennett was arrested on suspicion and was taken to Narcotics base where he was questioned. While there, he voluntarily gave a statement saying that a Rasta man gave him the envelopes to dispatch and he complied.

In mitigation, Bennett’s attorney, Grant Connell, told the court that his client is a father of three and is now in the business of selling Ital (food) to make ends meet.

Connell added that Bennett was employed with the Postal Corporation for 17 years and it is the first time he has had a brush with the law.

“He’s a virgin to the law. He has walked the straight and narrow for the past 44 years and has helped many in his community. He expresses great remorse and all this has a corrosive effect on his family,” Connell said.

“What happened on that day was a temporary lapse in judgement. He played no role in the packaging of these items and he cooperated with the police.”

The Chief Magistrate, in response, said it was poor judgement shown by Bennett.

“It was a very poor judgement call. You were in a position of trust as a postal officer. However, listening to the circumstances, I don’t think a custodial sentence would be appropriate at this time,” Browne-Matthias stated.(KW)

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