Court overturns man’s cocaine and cannabis convictions

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A man caught by police in a drug deal has won an appeal against a cannabis conviction — but remains behind bars on a cocaine conviction.

Sabian Hayward, 35, was jailed for two years after he was convicted by a jury of possessing cannabis resin and cocaine with intent to supply. But the Court of Appeal found neither conviction was safe.

Appeal judges dismissed the cannabis conviction and replaced the cocaine conviction with one for “simple” possession.

A judgment written by Appeal Judge Anthony Smellie said: “When viewed at its highest, the circumstances show no more than that the illicit drug transaction was interrupted before it was completed.

“Yet it was that completion which would have imputed to the appellant the possession within the meaning of the law needed to give rise to the further inference of his intention to supply the cocaine on to others.”

Hayward was arrested alongside Daymon Simmons in August 2014 in a drug sting operation at the Somerset Bridge ferry dock. Officers saw the men go inside the disused shelter and saw Simmons and Hayward pass a white plastic package back and forth.

Police raided the shelter and one officer saw Hayward throw a white package out of a window.

Officers later found three packages — one white and two brown — outside the shelter window. The white package held 56g of crack cocaine and the others held a combined total of 63g of cannabis resin.

Simmons pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs with intent to supply. Hayward maintained his innocence at a Supreme Court trial, but was found guilty in March, 2018.

He argued at appeal there was not enough evidence to support the conviction.

Mr Justice Smellie said no witnesses saw Hayward with the cannabis resin, only the white package found to contain cocaine.

He said: “There simply was no basis for speculating that the appellant might also have thrown, and so must have come into possession of, the packets containing the brown rocklike substances.

“There was no basis for excluding the reasonable possibility that those packets were thrown through the shelter window by Simmons, who admitted and pled guilty to his possession of them and notwithstanding that the packets were found close together.”

The Court of Appeal also found the conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to supply was not sustainable.

The court did find there was enough evidence to show Hayward handled the cocaine.

Mr Justice Smellie said: “In particular, the inference is unavoidable that when the appellant retained the packet which he must have known or believed contained cocaine despite the onrush of the BPS and then threw it out the window of the shelter, he did so for the purpose of concealing the controlled drug.”

The court set aside the cocaine conviction and substituted it with a conviction for handling the drug and allowed the two-year sentence to remain unchanged.

Simmons was sentenced to two years in prison in 2017.

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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