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15 Months In Prison For Drug Possession

By FARRAH JOHNSON

fjohnson@tribunemedia.net

A 38-year-old man was sentenced to 15 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to drug possession in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

He was among four men who appeared before Magistrate Andrew Forbes for drug related offences.

Obafemi Gibson, 38, was charged with possession of Indian hemp with intent to supply after officers seized four pounds of drugs from him on May 21. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Prosecutor Lincoln Mckenzie told the court around 1.55pm that day, officers, armed with a search warrant, proceeded to Gibson’s residence. Sgt McKenzie said when the officers knocked on the door they heard shuffling, so they broke it down. Once inside the house, the officers saw the defendant lighting a fire in the bathtub. Sgt McKenzie said the officers managed to distinguish the blaze and discovered a large quantity of suspected drugs. Gibson was subsequently arrested. He admitted to the offence in an interview with police.

Yesterday, Gibson appeared in court with a cast on his right arm and leg. During the hearing, he told the magistrate that he had recently been treated for burn wounds. When asked why he committed the offence, he told the magistrate he was unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and said he couldn’t cope with not being able to feed his young child. While Gibson did admit that he was “careless in his choice,” he also said that he had sat down and “analysed his options” which made him feel like he did not have any other alternatives.

In response, Magistrate Forbes told Gibson he should make decisions that are in his child’s best interest and sentenced the defendant to time in prison. He also said he would send a recommendation to ensure Gibson receives medical treatment while in custody.

Chester Tarris, 42, and Rony Corneille, 36, also appeared before Magistrate Forbes yesterday, after officers found 33 grams of Indian hemp at their residence on May 23. They both pleaded guilty and were each fined $350 or one month in prison.

Prosecutor Mckenzie said around 1.30pm that afternoon, officers went to the men’s residence with a search warrant and informed them that they would be conducting a search in reference to dangerous drugs and firearms. Sgt McKenzie said during the search, officers found a foil wrap containing suspected marijuana on Tarris. He also said officers found 32 more silver coloured foil wrappings in bushes outside the residence.

When given an opportunity to speak, Tarris told the magistrate that he was using the drug to cope after his wife died two years ago. He claimed he had difficulty falling asleep at night and said he was told that marijuana could ease his insomnia and “relieve his depression.”

Akeem Pratt, 21, was charged after officers found a silver coloured foil wrap in his pants pocket around 10.30pm on May 21. He pleaded guilty and was conditionally discharged for 12 months on the agreement that he would attend drug counselling classes.

During the hearing, Pratt told the magistrate that he had been smoking for five years following the death of his uncle. He also said he was trying to stop, but had developed a habit.

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