The Holetown Magistrates’ Court today took into account the mental challenges being experienced by an accused man who was seen by police smoking a spliff of marijuana at the Kiosk, Speightstown, St Peter.
The court heard that when the man from the same parish noticed the officers, he dropped the cigarette.
However, he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana after the spliff was retrieved.
The 24-year-old pleaded guilty before Magistrate Wanda Blair today, who subsequently ordered the first-time offender to pay $250 costs to the court.
When the young man admitted that he had no money and would have to ask one of his parents, the magistrate responded: “It always falls back to the parents. They are not committing any crime but they have to pay the fine.”
“Is it the first time you smoked it or it is the first time you got caught?” she asked.
“It is the first time I got caught,” the man replied.
Magistrate Blair took issue not only with him smoking an illegal substance, but doing so in a public place.
“Which means that you don’t even care if the police pass and see you . . . that is a blatant disregard for the law.”
It was then that his father raised his hand and was asked to address the court. He explained that the situation with his son was not a straightforward one.
He said he and the mother had already done “everything that we can”. He explained that the youngster had already attended Teen Challenge, had sessions with Pastor Victor Roach and had seen several doctors.
He said that because of his son’s mental challenges, he could not carry out any assigned task, whether it relates to study or work. “He just can’t get it together,” he told the magistrate, “it’s not that he doesn’t care, he just can’t get it done”.
He went on to say that his son is almost 25 but because of a developmental problem, is actually at the stage of a 16-year-old.
“The money I have spent trying to help him . . . and the time his mother has spent . . . I could buy the whole of Holetown,” his dad explained.
Magistrate Blair lauded them for doing their part as parents and trying with their son, despite the challenges.
“But if he continues using drugs, you may have to spend as much as what could buy Barbados. His using drugs will only make things worse,” she suggested.
Speaking to the young man, the magistrate urged him to quit smoking.
“Your parents are trying to help you, so keep away from drugs and from people who are using drugs. Even though you have challenges, you still know what is right and what is wrong.”
“Don’t come back in these courts,” Blair warned.