Were it not for Magistrate Alliston Seale ‘feeling the Yuletide spirit’ a St Michael man would have rang in the New Year in HMP Dodds.
Luckily for Alair George Hope though, he will have six months to pay fines totaling $4500 instead.
When he appeared in the District ‘A’ Magistrates Court today, the 26-year-old construction worker from Skeetes Road, Jackmans, St Michael pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, trafficking and intent to supply on December 30.
The drugs weighed 53 grams with a street value of $260.
Seale told the multiple offender who had already paid two fines for similar drug offences in 2010 and 2011, that the fines being imposed on him were obviously not serving the purpose intended.
He queried whether a custodial sentence might be the best option.
However, he had a change of heart, choosing instead to give Hope one last chance.
“The only reason I am not sending you to prison is because I have a little Yuletide Spirit in me. You are a lucky man,” Seale told him.
He then fined him $3500 in three months or 12 months in prison for trafficking, and $1000 in six weeks or six months in prison for possession.
He was convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the charge of intent to supply.
Hope told the judge he had been laid off and was selling the drugs to provide for his daughter and girlfriend.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Theodore McClean disclosed that after receiving information, police went to Jackman’s, St Michael where they saw the accused standing with a haversack.
Upon seeing them he ran off and police officers gave chase.
During the chase he took off the haversack and threw it into an open yard, but shortly afterwards he fell and was apprehended.
Hope was taken back to the area where he threw the bag and in his presence police found a ziplock bag containing cannabis inside of the haversack.
When asked to account for the drugs he said “that is some marijuana I was selling to take care of my daughter and girlfriend because I got laid off from work.”
He was arrested and charged.