Drug smuggler jailed for four years

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  • (file photograph)

    (file photograph)

A man who smuggled more than $250,000 of cannabis into the island was jailed after the court rejected his claim that he was attempting to help a sick relative.

Andre Richardson, 36, admitted imported the drugs during his trial, but said he brought the 5,358 grams of drugs to the island to treat an uncle fighting cancer.

During his sentencing, acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe rejected the claim, suggesting that he had used his uncle’s ill fortune as an excuse.

“It appears to me that the defendant exploited the ill health of his uncle to get off a charge,” he said.

During the trial, the court heard the Devonshire resident was arrested after he arrived at LF Wade International Airport on June 5 last year on a flight from Toronto.

Richardson declared more than $1,800 worth of new clothes and other items when he reached immigration and paid more than $400 in duty.

However, his suitcases were searched as he went through the goods-to-declare aisle and customs officers found six blocks of cannabis hidden in the lining of two of his suitcases.

Richardson was detained and arrested at the airport and later denied charges relating to the drugs haul found in his bags at court.

At trial, he took the stand and claimed that he was bringing in the cannabis for his uncle, who was suffering with cancer.

However, jurors found him guilty of both importing and possessing the drugs with intent to supply.

Prosecutor Allan Richards said that while Richardson did have some previous convictions, they were all old enough that he should receive some credit for good character.

But while defence lawyer Kamal Worrell argued that Richardson also deserved some discount for his admission that he had imported the controlled drugs, Mr Richards said such a decision would be “peculiar in the extreme”.

Richardson apologised for his actions, but maintained that he was only trying to help a relative and asking the court to take his reasoning into account.

Delivering his sentence, Mr Justice Wolffe said that while Richardson deserved some credit for his previous good character, he did not deserve any credit for his admissions.

“Once it was revealed that the evidence did not amount to a defence, the defendant could have pleaded guilty,” he said. “However, as he is entitled to do, he persisted on, presumably in hopes that the jury would still find him not guilty.”

He noted the affects of drugs on the community, saying that a strong message needed to be sent that those who seek to profit from illegal drugs do so at the risk of receiving a harsh sentence.

Mr Justice Wolffe sentenced Richardson to four years in prison for both the importation and possession of the drugs with intent to supply, ordering that the sentences run concurrently with time spent in custody taken into account.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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