Accused ganja smoker angry at $60,000 bail, penalty for the charge

A man who the police say was smoking cannabis was admitted to bail in the sum of $60,000 on Friday when he appeared before acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

Ivor Smith denied that on March 30 at Georgetown he smoked cannabis, a prohibited substance.

Initially, the accused had accepted the charge. After being told by the magistrate that he could be sentenced to a period of imprisonment for not more than three years and not less than one, Smith said that he wanted to change his plea. Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry then entered a not guilty plea for the defendant.

The accused argued that he was not smoking the substance at the time that he was approached by the police. According to him, he had already discarded the item on the ground.

He went on to argue that he did not have the cannabis in his possession. The magistrate however cautioned him that he was not charged for “possession of” but rather “smoking cannabis.”

A visibly angry Smith who said that the penalty for the charge was unfair, voiced his dissatisfaction with the bail granted, began hurling insults and threats at the court as he was being escorted from the docks of the courtroom.

The magistrate, however, told the accused that it is Parliament that makes the penalties while the courts enforce them.  He repeatedly used indecent language and threatened to take grenades into the courtroom. His matter was transferred to Court Five for April 4.

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