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Five-year court case finally resolved with suspended sentence

A woman who waited five years for her drugs case to be resolved has been given a suspended six-month jail sentence.

Magistrates’ Court heard that Zaharrin Simmons, 30, had been fighting two counts of drug possession in an increased penalty zone since 2017 before admitting her offences on Friday.

Alan Richards, for the Crown, admitted that the case faced “several complications”, including a trial date where none of the Crown’s witnesses or the defendant appeared.

The court heard that Simmons was an inmate at the Co-Ed Facility in St George’s for an unspecified reason.

Corrections officers carried out routine cell inspections on July 25, 2016 and found a “small and bulky” object.

Simmons immediately put the object in her mouth and refused to take it out, but eventually gave up the bag which held a smaller twist bag and two packages with a plantlike substance inside them.

Officers asked Simmons what they were but she refused to say.

Police were alerted to the find and the packages were sent to be tested for drugs. Tests showed that the bags had 1.52g of cannabis, 0.05g of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, and tobacco.

The court heard that Simmons denied the charges on February 14, 2017 and that the case had since been set for trial at least twice.

Susan Mulligan, for the defence, said that her client had left the island shortly after her release and moved to Britain, but returned temporarily to help her family and resolve the case.

Simmons told the court: “I’ve been trying to move past this.”

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo sentenced her to three months imprisonment for cannabis possession and six months imprisonment for ecstasy possession.

He ordered that the two run concurrently and suspended the sentence for 18 months.

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