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'Killing Time' Smoking Drug Lands Teen In Court

By FARRAH JOHNSON

fjohnson@tribunemedia.net

A TEENAGER charged with marijuana possession yesterday told a judge he was smoking the drug "to kill time".

Tarron Hepburn, 19, appeared before Magistrate Samuel McKinney after officers seized two grams of Indian hemp from him on June 20.

He pleaded guilty and was ordered to exhibit good behaviour for six months. If Hepburn is convicted within that timeframe, he will be fined $500 or risk spending one month at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.

During the hearing, Hepburn was asked why he had the drug in his possession when it was illegal. In response, he told the magistrate that he had the marijuana "to smoke to kill time" because he "didn't have anything to do." Still, he said the next time he was bored, he would "think back on the moment" he was charged.

Ventoi Bethune, 26, also appeared before Magistrate McKinney after officers found five grams of Indian hemp on his person on June 18. He also pleaded guilty and was ordered to keep the peace for six months. If he fails to do so, he will be fined $750 or spend two months at BDCS.

Prosecutor Kendrick Bauld said around 2.30pm on the day in question, officers on mobile patrol in the Carmichael Road area observed a car driving with dark tinted windows. They beckoned for the vehicle to stop and informed the driver, Bethune, that they would be conducting a search in reference to dangerous drugs and firearms. Sgt Bauld said a search of Bethune's vehicle came back negative; however, when the officers searched his person, they found three Ziploc bags containing suspected marijuana taped to his body. He was subsequently arrested. In an interview with police at a nearby station, he claimed that smoking marijuana was a part of his religion.

Meanwhile, Nils Kelly, 45, was charged after he was found with two grams of Indian hemp on June 20. He pleaded guilty to simple possession and was bound to keep the peace for six months. Still, Magistrate McKinney warned him that if he was convicted of a criminal offence during that time, he would be fined $500 or spend six months in prison. When given an opportunity to speak yesterday, Kelly claimed that he had the drug for personal use because he had arthritis in his leg. In response, Magistrate McKinney advised Kelly that he needed to go to a doctor to prescribe a legal pain medication, until the law legalised the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Officers seized one gram of Indian hemp from Bradley Frazier, 33, on June 18. He pleaded guilty and claimed that he had the drug to smoke when he got home from work. During his hearing, Frazier was bound to keep the peace for six months. If he doesn't, he will be fined $500 or spend one month at BDCS.

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