Trucker facing lengthy jail sentence
A truck driver faces what a judge warned will be a “substantial” jail sentence after a jury convicted him of plotting to import $45,450 worth of cannabis.
James Walker, 51, of Tommy Fox Road, St David’s, showed no emotion as the verdict was returned on Friday.
During the trial, which began a week ago, Supreme Court heard the drugs arrived in a consignment of dinnerware loaded into a wooden pallet that arrived on a cargo jet on May 12, 2010.
Customs officers discovered the drugs packed into plastic pipes which were concealed within the blocks separating the planks of the pallet. The consignment of dinnerware was put back in circulation and, the following day, Walker arrived at the airport to pick it up.
He asked the freight manager for the pallet as well as the dinnerware but the manager told him he could not have it because they were short of pallets. Walker took it anyway when the freight manager’s back was turned. He then drove to St George’s where he was stopped by the police, who searched his truck.
The consignment, which was addressed to Nicholas Minors at Dolly’s Bay Lane in St David’s, was seized, but the pallet was no longer there. The pallet was later found hidden in some trees in St George’s. According to prosecutor Takiyah Burgess, Nicholas Minors was a fictitious name.
Walker denied participating in the plot to import the drugs. He said he was asked to pick up the consignment by a man named Nicholas Minors but did not know what was in it.
He told the police he did not see Mr Minors again after his arrest and denied any knowledge of the pallet. He declined to take the stand to give evidence in his own defence during the case. No forensic evidence linking him to the drugs was presented.
The guilty verdict was agreed upon by nine members of the jury, with three believing Walker innocent of the charge. The panel of nine men and three women deliberated on the case for more than five hours.
Following the verdict, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves remanded Walker into custody and fixed his sentencing hearing for Wednesday.
Defence lawyer Craig Attridge asked for the defendant, who remained on bail throughout his trial, to be released again to set his affairs in order before then.
However, Mr Justice Greaves said the risk of Walker failing to turn up was “too great” as he should expect an “immediate and substantial” prison term.
He therefore remanded him into custody.
Walker was originally charged alongside another alleged conspirator and St David’s resident, Desmond Trott, who was aged 22 when he was charged last May.
According to Ms Burgess, the case against Mr Trott was thrown out by a Magistrate during a preliminary stage of the proceedings due to a lack of evidence.
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