Ricardo John, 39-year-old fisherman of Union Island, has until December 20 to pay the Court $4,300 for possession of 5,448 grams of marijuana with intent to supply.
In default, he would go to prison for six months.
John, who was not represented by a lawyer, pleaded guilty when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne at the Serious Offences Court on Tuesday. He begged the Magistrate to impose a fine and give him time to pay.
According to the facts, police, acting on information received, arrested John after executing a search warrant in respect of control drugs, at his Union Island home, around 6:46 p.m. on July 5.
The search revealed a bucket under a bed in his bedroom. It was opened in his presence, uncovering the herb. When cautioned, he said it belonged to someone else whom he identified by name.
Before handing down the penalty, Browne told John that because he pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, he would benefit from a one-third reduction in sentence. She also noted that he had no previous convictions and appeared to be remorseful, and highlighted the fact that the defendant was found with “local vegetation, as opposed to the white powdery processed stuff”, all factors that would go in his favour.
But she informed him that the value placed on the marijuana with which he was found was $6,500, and added that when the police found the substance at his home he did not accept responsibility but instead, played the blame game.
Browne explained that in sentencing, she had to follow the guidelines of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. She then proceeded to do the calculations, weighed the mitigating and aggravating factors before arriving at the fine.