Two Port Kaituma boat passengers remanded over ganja trafficking

A man and a woman who were passengers aboard a steamer travelling to Port Kaituma when they were allegedly found trafficking in 600 grammes of cannabis were yesterday remanded to prison by acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

It is alleged that on September 9 at Port Kaituma, Ron Collins and Ramona Melville had in their possession 600 grammes of canna-bis for the purpose of trafficking.

The jointly-charged duo denied the narcotics charge when it was read to them at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
In presenting the facts of the case, Prosecutor Stephen Telford told the court that on the day in question, the defendants were among passengers on board a steamer headed to Port Kaituma when they were found in possession of the illegal substance.

According to Telford the passengers were taken to the Port Kaituma Police Station to have their persons and baggage searched when the item in question was found in a bag belonging to Melville.

According to the prosecutor, when questioned at the Police Station, the female accused told ranks that it was Collins who had asked her to put a parcel in her bag for him; a claim Telford said Collins admitted to during confrontation.
The prosecution in its request for the defendants to be remanded to prison questioned why the 26-year-old would allow a stranger to put a parcel into her bag not knowing its contents. Here, the contents of that parcel “turned out to be cannabis,” Telford asserted.

Collins had initially pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
In his explanation, however, Collins stressed that he was innocent of the charge. He said that a woman had asked him to deliver that package to her husband and he had subsequently asked Melville to carry it in her bag for him but had no idea what was inside.

Ron Collins

The presiding magistrate explained to the defendant that the offence for which he is charged carries a mandatory custodial sentence and further cautioned him that for the court to accept his guilty plea he would have to accept the charge.

The miner, however, maintained that he was innocent after which he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Meanwhile, attorney Adrian Thompson who represented the mother of four said that whatever was placed into his client’s bag “was placed there unknown to her.”

According to Thompson, the woman was travelling back home to Port Kaituma on the steamer after seeking medical attention for his sick one-year-old child.

The lawyer said that Melville was busy trying to care for her child who doctors said is deformed when a parcel was placed into her bag unknown to her.

Ramona Melville

This, counsel contended, amounted to special circumstances as he made a request for his client to be admitted to reasonable bail, citing that she has no antecedents, has a fixed address, poses no risk of flight and is cooperating with police investigations.

After listening to the facts of the case, the magistrate informed that the court was not inclined to grant bail.
The two were then remanded to prison and their matter transferred to the Matthew’s Ridge Magistrates’ Court for November 1.

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