$7,500 fine for drug accused
A 29-year-old man has been fined $7,500 for having drug equipment.
Justin DeSilva, of Mount Hope Lane, Smith's, pleaded guilty in Magistrates' Court yesterday to possessing a grinder, scissors and rolling papers on January 15 of last year.
Magistrate Archibald Warner fined him $6,000 with an additional penalty of $1,500 because the offence occurred in an increased penalty zone — within 300 metres of the Bright Beginnings Nursery in Smith's.
DeSilva was detained by police officers who were on their way to search his residence. They had a warrant to do so issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Police Sergeant Alex Rollin told the court he saw DeSilva, who was driving while disqualified, at the junction of Fort Hill Road and Middle Road, Devonshire. He was pulled over and arrested.
The grinder, scissors and rolling papers were found on a bedside table in DeSilva's home, while $500 in cash was taken from his person.
Officers also searched a garage on the same property that belonged to Guy DeSilva, the defendant's father, where a police dog drew attention to a golf bag containing a plastic bag of plant-like material and a set of electronic scales.
Sgt Rollin said he spoke to DeSilva's father, who said he had owned the golf bag for years but he denied knowing what was inside.
The bag contained nearly 74g of cannabis.
According to a statement read to the court from Sgt Ian Small, the drug is commonly sold at $150 for quarter-ounce bags, or $25 for half-gram twists, meaning the cannabis found would have a street value of $1,500 to $3,700.
Defence lawyer Marc Daniels argued that the garage in which the drugs were found was left unlocked and was accessible to many people, meaning the cannabis could not be linked to his client.
“The evidence is not just tenuous, it's nonexistent,” Mr Daniels said.
Prosecutor Karen King said the Crown could not offer any evidence that the drugs and scales belonged to the defendant, and the defendant was acquitted of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.
DeSilva, who has previous convictions for cannabis possession, was given 30 days to pay his $7,500 or he would face six months in prison.
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