Judge extends leniency to ganja accused

No. 49 Wednesday, February 03, 2010
After reading a court-ordered social enquiry report for Rupert Kerr, Senior Resident Magistrate Mrs. V. Harris on Monday, February 1 extended a hand of leniency to the accused who was arrested following the seizure of over 4 pounds of marijuana.

  The drug was found at certain premises in Montego Bay where he works as a gardener and where he has a room.
   Kerr, who pleaded guilty to possession, dealing and taking proprietary steps to export the illegal drug, was fined over $40,000 instead of going to prison.
   Six other persons with whom he was jointly charged, all of whom had entered a not guilty plea, had the charges against them dismissed in an earlier court appearance.
   In mitigation on Monday, Kerr’s attorney Natalie Messado said the report did not paint a picture of a man who was beyond redemption and made mention of the fact that he started to fend for himself at age 16.
   The attorney said that her client admitted to dealing in the drug but pointed out that he had no intention to export it.
She further pointed out that his community recommended him as a person deserving to be given a chance and asked for leniency on his behalf.
   The attorney also made mention to a section of the report where the probation officer stated that Kerr cannot be considered a habitual wrongdoer and who also recommended that a fine be imposed.
   In handing down sentence, the magistrate took into account Kerr’s antecedent report and the fact that he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
   For possession of the drug, he was fined $6,500 or 30 days and $12,000 or 30 days on the dealing charge. On the export charge, he was fined $25,000 or three months.
   Reports are that on October 17, 2009, the police, having obtained a search warrant under the Dangerous Drugs Act, visited certain premises belonging to a couple who was among the persons who were acquitted on Wednesday.
   The premises were searched and a quantity of weed was found inside of a cupboard inside the washroom.
A further search was conducted and the drug was also found inside two coffee bags inside the garage.
   The six persons who were present at the house were taken into custody for questioning.
   Kerr, who was not present, later showed up at the narcotics office and when questioned, he admitted that the weed belongs to him.

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