Teenager was ‘involved in drug enterprise’

A teenager was sentenced to two years’ probation yesterday after pleading guilty to a trio of offences in Magistrates’ Court.

Tejai Ford, 17, of Warwick appeared for sentencing before senior magistrate Juan Wolffe.

Ford was the pillion passenger on a motorcycle that was stopped by police on Ord Road in Warwick on September 6, 2019.

He was found to be in possession of a blue-handled fixed blade knife with a 3½-inch blade, 0.21 grams of ecstasy and a grinder.

Ford said the knife, bag and grinder were his. He said he did not know that ecstasy was in the bag.

Mr Wolffe said: “Someone took their hard-earned ecstasy and put it in someone else’s bag? Why would they do that?”

Cindy Clarke, deputy director in the department of public prosecutions, said Ford explained he had been fishing with a friend, and the knife was still in the bag.

Mr Wolffe said: “I don’t accept it.”

Later, he added: “No one said the knife smelled like fish.”

And the senior magistrate asked: “What did you need a grinder for? Making parsley?”

Ford said he used it to grind up “herbal substance”, adding: “I use it for medicinal.”

Mr Wolffe said: “Now you’re going the medicinal purposes route? Have you got glaucoma?”

Ford replied: “It helps me to sleep better.”

Ford’s mother and grandmother attended court.

Addressing the mother, Mr Wolffe said: “Your son is lying to me.”

Ms Clarke submitted that Ford be sentenced to probation for three years, to be accompanied by a community service order.

She said: “His mother and grandmother are in tears, but he doesn’t look affected. He doesn’t seem the least bit worried about what happens to him.”

Bruce Swan, representing Ford, argued in favour of a conditional discharge. Noting his client’s age, Mr Swan said he was “very, very worried” about the “stigma” of a criminal conviction.

Summing up, Mr Wolffe said that Ford was “involved in a drug enterprise”.

Sentencing, he said: “These are extremely serious offences. I don’t think a conditional discharge will send a strong enough message.”

Mr Wolffe said the period of probation’s conditions include abstaining from the use of all illicit substances and alcohol, submitting to random drug testing, participating in any programmes deemed necessary by the Department of Court Services, and not associating with persons of known bad character.

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

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