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Vincentian drug accused in Tortola protests trial delays

Vincentian drug accused in Tortola protests trial delays

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Tue Oct 8, 2013

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards told a prisoner on October 3, 2013 that it was out of the norm for trial matters to be started in less than a year before the Magistrate’s Court.{{more}}

Vincentian Glenroy Pierre, the lone defendant remaining from a trio of men charged in an alleged attempt to convey a huge cache of drugs last year, erupted in frustration in the prisoner’s dock at court because of the delays in his trial.

Pierre, who was part of a trio including Adrian Arthur and Ralph James, who have since been sentenced after their guilty pleas in the offence, is charged with illegal entry, in addition to charges of supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug; possession of a controlled drug; importation or being concerned in the importation of a controlled drug; and unlawful possession of a controlled drug.

Magistrate Richards was at the time telling the defendant about a request for yet another adjournment made by the Crown when Pierre responded, “Every time I come here, I hearing the same thing. Nobody is telling me nothing.”

The Magistrate attempted to tell the defendant that the Crown was having difficulty sorting which prosecutor would be conducting the trial when he interjected and said the last two times he came to court he was told the same story.

Pierre, who has since opted to act in his own defence, complained that he had been stuck at the prison for nearly a year and was yet to get his trial off the ground and said he felt he was being treated unfairly.

“I am here,” Magistrate Richards said, “You can’t say that I’m not here.”

Magistrate Richards pointed out that there were thousands of matters that passed through the Magistrate’s Court and it was unusual for a matter to be started in under a year.

“Matters take at least one year in this court. If your matter started already it would have been out of the norm.”

She told Pierre that there was no particular injustice being met -ed out to “Glenroy Pierre from St Vincent” and expressed hope that his trial can begin on October 17, 2013, as it had been adjourned.

Allegations:

Previously, Principal Crown Counsel Ms Tiffany Scatliffe told the court that on October 25, 2012 around 2:45 p.m., members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force were conducting patrols along the north of Tortola and encountered a 50-foot sloop (sailing vessel) about 14.4 miles south of Anegada.

Officers came upon the vessel which was not flying the red ensign or any other territorial flag and a check was made with Her Majesty’s Customs, which confirmed that the said vessel had not obtained or applied for a clearance from Customs or Immigration.

Police boarded the vessel and introduced themselves while the men aboard the vessel identified themselves as the above-named accused.

The court heard that the officers then enquired as to how long they were in the territory to which they responded by saying a few days. They were then asked about whether an application for clearance had been made and Arthur allegedly responded in the negative. The men were then cautioned and told that this was an offence, at which point they were then arrested for illegal entry.

Police subsequently asked the men whether anything illegal was aboard the vessel and cautioned the men. It was at this point that Arthur allegedly said “yes” and told the officers afterwards “Marijuana… plenty… about a thousand pounds.”

Arthur was then invited to show police the location of the alleged drug. Police reportedly videotaped the proceedings.

Ms Scatliffe told the court that drugs were allegedly found stuffed all over the vessel, including the lavatory and were reportedly in crocus bags. The crocus bags were said to contain smaller bags of vegetable matter, suspected to be cannabis.

The vessel was then towed to the marine base and photos were taken of what was discovered.

The court was also told that on August 31, 2012, the accused were on the said vessel in Antigua and requested clearance from St Martin to go to Jamaica. About two weeks ago they had allegedly left Jamaica with their final destination being Antigua.

Meanwhile, when the men were discovered in the territory by the patrol group, it was alleged that they had run out of fuel and were experiencing mechanical difficulties. When the men were intercepted they were trying to conduct repairs to the vessel.

The trio allegedly went to Jamaica from St Martin to collect marijuana and they were on their way back to Antigua, when during the travels, it was discovered that the vessel had run out of gas and they were also experiencing mechanical problems at the same time, which prevented them from sailing. She further alleged that one of the men had claimed they arrived a few days before October 25, and were drifting. (Virgin Island News online)

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