Drug charge against Makai Dickerson dropped
A drug possession charge against former PLP candidate Makai Dickerson was thrown out of Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Dickerson spoke out after the case, calling for the law on cannabis to be reformed so others are spared the “ridicule” he feels he endured.
Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner dismissed the case and discharged him after prosecutor Larissa Burgess offered “no evidence” to support the charge, saying the defendant accepted a caution for the offence instead.
Dickerson said in a statement afterwards: “I am grateful to the people of Bermuda who have shown me so much support in what has truly been a challenging and difficult period in my life.
“It is not easy to be the subject of public ridicule, but I appreciate that I am wholly responsible for my actions and shall do the best that I can to improve as a man and a member of our beloved society.
“I am genuinely thankful to the Bermuda Police Service personnel who reviewed my case and determined that the matter was best left to a caution.
“We all can fall short in this journey called life, whether it is the result of making mistakes or simply making poor decisions.
“I pray that I never find myself in a similar situation which can cause damage to my personal reputation as well as those who stand by me and support me.
“I am also thankful to the Crown and to the court for the professional manner in which they dealt with my case.
“I am keen to put this matter behind me so that I may continue to work in the community and be of service to the people of Bermuda.
“I have publicly spoken as an advocate for law reform as it pertains to cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act and I hope that I may continue to serve in this capacity such that others may be spared the ridicule and severe punishments that can be passed for breaches of such laws.
“This is not to say that I condone any of my actions or seek to make excuses, but I hope that my experience can be a lesson for others, in particular our government, as it relates to a very real issue within our community”.
Dickerson was due to run as a candidate in Devonshire South Central in the December 17 election.
However, he pulled out of the election race on November 28 after news emerged that he had been caught with .45 grams of cannabis in a cigarette box when he was stopped and searched by police in September.
The amount would normally result in a police caution. However, prosecutor Garrett Byrne told an earlier court hearing that Dickerson ended up charged with a criminal offence as “he didn’t accept any culpability”.
The caution was eventually meted out after Dickerson — who had initially stated that he did not know the drugs were in the bottom of a friend’s cigarette box that he was carrying — eventually admitted being in possession of it.
His defence lawyer, Marc Daniels, who is also a PLP Senator, said after yesterday’s case: “I am thankful that the relevant authorities considered that this case should have been treated with a caution.
“I am also pleased that the Crown are exercising greater discretion to award cautions in similar cases such that we as a people can limit the numbers within our society from being subjected to the psychological and emotional trauma of being placed in the criminal justice system.
“Mr Dickerson has never been charged or convicted of any other offences and considering all the positive work that he has done within our community I am confident that justice has been served in this instance, as he is a man of good character with much to offer our society”.