…begs Magistrate not to serve time here but in home country of Trinidad
Cornelious Thomas stood silently in the prisoner’s dock while Magistrate Dylan Bess summed up the evidence before handing down the sentence.
Thomas was first arraigned before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts in May, 2017 where he was charged and remanded to prison for trafficking in 834 grams of cannabis.
The 32-year-old, Trinidadian gospel promoter, who then resided in Guyhoc Gardens and had denied possession of the illicit drug, alleged in court that on the day in question (May 28) his landlord called him and held him at gunpoint, informing him that a black bag was found in his apartment before calling the police.
When the defendant made his appearance on Friday, Magistrate Dylan Bess ruled that the court is satisfied that the alleged substance was indeed cannabis and this was proven by the analyst’s report.
The Magistrate continued that the prosecution had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had full care and control of the narcotics which were found inside his apartment and this was evidenced by caution statements given during the investigation process, an inference to which the accused did not object to when it was read in court during trial.
The presiding Magistrate held that narcotics were found in a room which the accused occupied to which he had care and control of.
Further, the defendant’s knowledge of the illicit substance was also to be inferred from both oral and written caution statements in which he admitted to same.
Magistrate Bess then concluded that the prosecution had successfully proven all elements of the offence and the witnesses were not discredited under cross examination.
Considering that the accused is a first time offender, with no prior convictions, the Magistrate passed a sentence of three years and six months along with a fine of $566,000.
Non-payment of the fine will see Thomas spending an additional six months in prison.
Thomas accepted his fate but petitioned the Magistrate to serve time in his home country, Trinidad, for safety purposes, citing that the situation in Guyana is “unpredictable” following the recent prison unrest and fire.
Magistrate Bess however, responded to the effect that he had no power to grant the defendant’s request while acknowledging that prisons are not meant to be “comfortable” places.
The accused was adamant in wanting to avoid Camp Street at all costs and the Magistrate assured that he will include in the order a request for the defendant to serve the time at either Lusignan (East Coast Demerara) or Mazaruni (Region-Seven).
Thomas was one of the six inmates who escaped from the Camp Street Prison on July 9, following the fire and subsequent unrest. He was recaptured weeks later in ‘C’ Field South Sophia.
It remains unclear at this point whether he was charged with escaping from lawful custody.