A 19-year-old mother of one who had two grams of cannabis in her possession was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine or serve a three-month prison sentence when she appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday before Magistrate Fazil Azeez, who said he was showing her leniency by giving her a new lease on life.
Shevonne Tull, a confectionary vendor of 9 Rosemary Lane, South Cummingsburg admitted that on October 30 at Georgetown, she had in her possession two grams of cannabis.
In giving the facts of the case, prosecutor Lionel Harvey told that court that on the day in question the police were on patrol at the Carifesta Sports Complex when a search was conducted on the defendant and the illegal substance found in her pocket.
According to Harvey, a quantity of leaves, seeds and stems suspected to be cannabis was found in a transparent Ziploc bag being carried by the defendant.
The prosecutor said that the items were weighed and amounted to two grams of cannabis. The teen was later arrested and taken to the police station where she was charged for the offence.
Attorney-at-law Frank Fraser who represented the visibly nervous young woman told the court that his client was travelling in a bus when she noticed the bag with the leaves, seeds and stems and decided to pick it up not knowing then that it was an illegal substance. He said that she was sorry for her actions and had thrown herself at the mercy of the court.
The magistrate, apparently surprised, asked the attorney if his client was in the habit of “just picking up bush found anywhere and keeping it in her possession.” “This is not a very good practice,” the magistrate remarked.
The lawyer, however, just responded that his client was sorry for what she had done.
The lawyer said that Tull was going to a party when she was caught with the cannabis.
Magistrate Azeez gave the young mother a stern warning against ever being in possession of such substances again. The magistrate told the defendant that it usually started with a small amount of cannabis and then persons would decide to perfect the trade which soon escalates to larger trafficking amounts and even more damaging substances such as cocaine.
The magistrate then told the defendant that he would exercise lenience and ordered her to pay a fine of $10,000 or spend three weeks in prison. He told her to consider his decision as a new lease on life and as a lesson to be learnt.
As she stood with tears streaming down her face, Magistrate Azeez told her that he could have given her a much harsher penalty or even sentence her to some prison time so that she could get a “feel of life there”.
In warning Tull to ensure that this never happened again, the magistrate told the young woman that he had taken into consideration the fact that she is young, a first time offender, a mother of a one-year-old, and that the quantum is not alarming.