An inmate of the Camp Street prison accused by the police of concealing a quantity of cannabis in his anus was yesterday remanded to prison when he appeared before new acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
The allegation is that on September 3 at the Camp Street prison, Carl Fraser had in his possession 21.5 grammes of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In giving the facts of the case, Prosecutor Stephen Telford told the court that on the day in question, the police “received certain information” that the defendant was in possession of the illegal substance.
Acting upon that information, the prosecutor said, a nurse was called in to conduct an examination on Fraser’s body and it was discovered that the cannabis had been placed in his anus.
According to Telford, the accused had been sent along with other prisoners to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) on an errand and it was while he was there that the information was given to police and prison officials.
When given a chance to respond, the accused who has been imprisoned for the past six months, said he is being wrongfully accused and wilfully victimized by prison officials.
According to him, upon their return from the MoHA, each prisoner was searched for the illegal substance and nothing was found. He added that the cannabis was later found under a pile of clothing in the prison and he was subsequently accused of having knowledge of it even though the clothing did not belong to him.
“After de police find de cannabis under the pile of clothes, deh turn and tell me that I got to know about it,” a visibly angry Fraser said.
“But meh worship me ain’t know nothing about it, I getting frame,” he stressed.
The accused made allegations of being sexually assaulted in prison.
“My worship is nah one thing I does guh through in prison. I does be sexually assaulted in deh and all, not only victimised. But is only who feels it could know it meh worship,” he said sadly.
Fraser related also that when he attempted to report the injustices he has been suffering in prison, he was told by an officer that he has no rights. “When I tell the officer that I want make a report about being victimized and sexually assaulted in the prison, he tell me that me rights get cut.”
He added that the victimisation including being denied medical attention for a number of abscesses about his body. The magistrate then immediately ordered the prosecutor to ensure that the accused is provided medical assistance for his condition.
The unrepresented Fraser pleaded with the magistrate to be admitted to reasonable bail and reiterated that he never had the substance on or in him. He was told by the magistrate, however, that bail is not granted for trafficking in narcotics charges unless special circumstances relating to the offence are advanced.
The magistrate then accommodated the accused to ascertain whether or not he could provide special circumstances. Fraser again told the court of having to endure victimisation at the hands of the police and prison officials alike. The magistrate however cautioned the desperate Fraser that being victimized did not satisfy the grounds required for special circumstances and as a result he would be remanded to prison.
Upon hearing what would be his fate, the defendant sorrowfully said to the magistrate, “yuh placing me in hell’s kitchen all over again.” She then ordered the accused to return to court on October 11.
The defendant then asked for a speedy trial and an earlier return date but this was denied. He was then told by the sitting magistrate that the magistrate who will hear his case will not be available before October 11.
A distressed Fraser then expressed fear for his life, stating that there exists a possibility he may not live to see his next court date if sent back to the Camp Street prison. The defendant pleaded with the magistrate that if he has to be remanded, he should be sent to another facility; other than the Camp Street prison.
“I might be dead by the next court date meh worship,” Fraser said before being escorted from the courtroom.
Fraser will appear in Court Five on October 11.