Labourer tells court he unknowingly cultivated ganja

Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry on Monday granted $100,000 bail to a labourer who said that he watered plants in his yard unknown to him to be cannabis.

The June 4 charge levelled against Cannon Small is that he cultivated cannabis; a prohibited plant. He pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

Small, of 462 Punt Trench Dam, Independence Boulevard, said, “I used to be watering the plants all the time, but I din know was weed [cannabis].”

It was at this point that the presiding magistrate cautioned the defendant who was unrepresented by counsel that he should refrain from saying anything, lest he incriminated himself.

Visibly anxious to tell his story, Small continued by explaining that he watered the plants daily but had no knowledge that they were illegal. According to him, it was an elderly man who had brought it to his attention that the cultivation was cannabis plants. Small said that the area where he lives usually attracts lots of other people around; liming and dwelling.

Small told the court that after being told that morning that the plants were illegal, he was planning to uproot them that night after returning from work.

He said his plans were however thwarted as by the time he had gotten home the police were already there. “…And duh is how I get arrested and charged,” Small said softly.
“I think you should exercise your constitutional right to remain silent at this point,” the magistrate advised.

Prosecutor Vernette Pindar told the court that on the day in question around 9.30pm, acting on information received, a party of police went to the said location where they discovered nine plants suspected to be cannabis ranging between five to six feet in height.

Pindar said further investigations were carried out and the suspected plants were weighed in the defendant’s presence and amounted to that mentioned in the charge.  He was later arrested and charged.

The prosecution had no objections to Small being granted his pre-trial liberty but requested that it be set at a substantial sum to ensure he returns to court to stand trial.
The case continues on June 17.

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