Couples remanded on drug possession charges

Five people yesterday found themselves answering drug possession charges after police reported that quantities of cocaine and marijuana were found at their homes on Saturday.

Two couples, separately charged over the alleged possession of 4.3 grammes of cocaine and 22 grammes of cannabis, both denied having either knowledge or possession of the substances. But their respective bail applications were rejected by Magistrate Judy Latchman.

In both cases, attorney Paul Fung-a-Fat expressed his disappointment with the decision in the light of the fact that the defendants reside in multiple occupancies and the female defendants were both pregnant. These circumstances, he argued, constituted special reasons for bail.

Leather craftsman John Dowridge, 40, of 34 Albouys Street, Albouystown and his common-law wife and mother of three, Ocilia Leung, 24, were charged with the possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

In their defence, Fung-a-Fat said the substance was discovered wrapped in a pair of pants outside the tenement building which Dowridge and Leung share with about five others, and which also houses a gym downstairs.

On the day in question, he continued, the police selectively arrested the couple but failed to arrest the other tenants, who fled the scene.

But Prosecutor Joel Ricknauth, in his objection to bail for the couple, disputed the facts given by counsel, saying instead that the substance was in fact found in the ceiling of a particular area which the parties occupy. In addition, the prosecutor noted that special reasons for bail must relate to the offence and not the offender and, in the circumstances, he said the fact that the woman are pregnant is irrelevant.

The couple was subsequently remanded to prison until the commencement of their trial on June 19 in Court 3.

Terry Morgan, 34, and his common-law wife, Stacy Smith, 34, were denied bail after their hearing as well.

Police claim the marijuana was found at their Lot 315 Ramsingh Street, ‘B’ Field, Sophia home.

Fung-a-Fat once again requested reasonable bail, citing similar circumstances advanced for the first couple. They too, will remain in prison pending the commencement of their trial on June 19.

Upon this announcement, Fung-a-Fat successfully sought an order for the female defendants in the matter to stay at East La Penitence police station until trial, instead of being transported to prison at Berbice.

Meanwhile, also charged yesterday was 44-year-old scrap metal dealer John Beaton, of lot 57 Albouys Street, who was released on $25,000 bail after pleading not guilty to being found with 7.9 grammes of cannabis in his possession.

Beaton told the court that he is “an asthma case” and only uses the substance as medication. No further details pertaining to the charge were given by Prosecutor Ricknauth.

Fung-a-Fat, who appeared for Beaton pro bono, requested reasonable bail on the ground that Beaton is not a flight risk.

Beaton is scheduled to return on June 19 for the commencement of his trial in Court 3.


University of T&T to shed 287 jobs

(Trinidad Guardian) Education Minister Anthony Garcia says the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) is of the view that the organisation is “overstaffed and to run the university efficiently it will mean they have to trim fat.” But former Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim is warning that the decision to retrench 287 staff members, will “compromise the quality of teaching and learning and administration at the university,” and may impact its accreditation with the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT).

Pegasus Hotel for major expansion

In preparation for Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector and the bustling business usually synonymous with the industry, the Pegasus Hotel is expected to undergo a huge expansion which includes office and residential rental spaces.

Top Cop to resume duties today

Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud is to resume his duties today after spending approximately six months on leave, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan yesterday confirmed to Stabroek News.

AFC launches scathing attack on GAWU

The Alliance For Change (AFC) yesterday launched a scathing attack on the union GAWU, accusing it of decades of sabotage of the sugar industry and not genuinely representing the interests of its workers.

T&T-based company to offer range of health services

The importance of foot health, especially for persons with diabetes, was emphasized by Podologist Yvonne Braithwaite yesterday, when she launched the local leg of Rovon Health Care Inc, which includes a foot spa.

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