Lenient magistrate halves tourists’ drugs fine
Two American students were shown leniency by a magistrate yesterday after they said they could not pay a $4,000 fine for drugs offences.
Magistrates’ Court heard that first-time visitors Kyla Beckford and her boyfriend, Berlino Felix, both 22, were arrested at the airport when they arrived for a holiday on December 29.
The couple’s luggage was picked for a search and the couple told customs officers they had cannabis in their possession.
The search found 27 gummies, which were later found to contain THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, as well as about 20 grams of cannabis.
The pair, who had planned to stay until January 4, said the drugs were for personal use.
The couple, from Boston, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to two charges each of importation of a controlled drug.
The court heard Beckford and Felix could be fined $1,000 each on both counts — a total of $4,000.
Beckford and Felix, who fought back tears in court, told Magistrate Tyrone Chin they could not afford the fines.
Beckford said her parents could not help and she was due to return to college later this month and risked being trapped on the island.
She added: “I am deeply apologetic. This is a lesson to me.”
Felix said: “I am deeply sorry; this won’t ever happen again.”
Beckford added that she would use her experience to ensure other young people did not make the same mistake.
The court heard that it was the pair’s first time abroad and that they were not aware of the laws of Bermuda.
The court also heard that marijuana is legal in Massachusetts.
Mr Chin told the pair: “We have to have something to deter others.”
But he cut the fines in half, a reduction of $2,000, and ordered Felix and Beckford to pay $1,000 each before they left the island.
Mr Chin said: “I think you have learnt a lesson as young adults.”
• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding 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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