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Student gets slap on wrist for drugs at school

Student gets slap on wrist for drugs at school

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A fourth form student of a secondary school on the outskirts of Kingstown left the Serious Offences Court yesterday with a slap on the wrist, after he was found entering the school with a small quantity of marijuana last Friday.

When he appeared before the court, the 17-year-old boy pleaded guilty to having 16 grams of cannabis in his possession with intent to supply to another.{{more}}

According to police, the drugs were found last Friday by a security guard during a search at the entrance of the school.

The guard reportedly found a quantity of paper wrappings hidden in a pencil case in the boy’s bag and summoned police officers to the school.

During mitigation, the teen’s lawyer, Carlos James, reminded the court of his client’s age, adding that he is very remorseful for his actions. James pointed out that lawyers and sometimes even the prosecution object to criminalizing youths for drug offences.

He told the court that the teen spent the weekend in what he described as the inhumane conditions of a remand cell at the Central Police Station in Kingstown.

James further noted that the Court of Appeal took the view that young offenders must be rehabilitated instead of criminalized and so the young man could be reformed and even go on to enter the community college in later years. He further stated that the quantity of the drug goes to the level of the offence and urged the court to reprimand and discharge the teen.

However, senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche, who is usually lenient in these matters, told the court that his main concern is the fact that the boy was taking the drugs into the school.

Delpesche said although he does not agree with criminalizing young people, the youngsters seem to be taking advantage of the fact that prosecution is very lenient in these cases.

Additionally, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias stated that she does not believe that the young men are aware of the burden they place on their parents and families.

According to the Chief Magistrate, parents are judged and embarrassed when they are forced to come to court in the matters and “young people do not see the bigger picture.”

Browne-Matthias also pointed out the way the drug was packaged and stated that because the drug is being taken into school causes her to object to discharging the matter.

She, however, ordered that time spent on remand would be the boy’s sentence. The Chief Magistrate warned the teen that she would not be as lenient if he reappears before her. (AS)

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