With a slight limp, Acting Station Sergeant Orville Lovell, who was involved in a five-vehicle accident that claimed the life of his colleague ten days ago, walked into the No. 5 Supreme Court to give evidence in an ongoing drug case.
Shawn Barker, of #7 Two Mile Hill, St Michael, is on trial for possession, possession with intent to supply and trafficking of 227.5 kilogrammes of cannabis on May 3, 2013. He previously denied the charges.
Station Sergeant Lovell, when given the option by Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius, sat to give his evidence.
In response to questions from Principal Crown Counsel Anthony Blackman, he told the eight-member jury hearing Barker’s case that in May of 2013 he was attached to the Drug Squad at the Oistins Police Station where he conducted sampling of several packages of an illicit substance.
He said the samples were then sent to an analyst who confirmed the drug was marijuana.
When it came time for Barker – who is representing himself – to cross-examine the witness, he had no questions for the Station Sergeant.
It was at this stage that the prosecution closed its case against Barker who then gave an unsworn statement from the prisoners’ dock.
He told the jury that on May 3, 2013, he left home to do some fishing. He said he set sail in a northwest direction and went adrift about 15 nautical miles. Barker said the sea became choppy, so he again set out, this time to his “lucky spot” at Harrison Point, St Lucy.
The accused said it was while heading towards Speightstown that he saw a boat coming towards him at “a very fast rate” and he later realized it was a Coast Guard vessel.
“It was coming so fast that I had to veer to the left to avoid it colliding with the vessel I was on. When it got close, two Coast Guard officers, one with a gun, told me cut the engine. I cut the engine,” Barker testified.
He said he was asked what was on the boat, to which he replied “fish”, and he was then told not to touch anything.
According to Barker, one of the officers boarded his vessel and asked him where the other boat was. He said he told him it was only one boat.
The accused man said he asked what the problem was and the response he got was that he would find out when he got to the Coast Guard base.
While there, Barker said, he was told by an officer that he was “in trouble” and that “they found the bags”.
“I say ‘Bags? I don’t know nothing about no bags’,” Barker testified.
He was subsequently taken to the Oistins Police Station where he was again questioned about a boat.
“I told them I don’t know nothing about another boat; I is the only boat out there,” Barker told the court.
He said the following day, he was taken back to the Coast Guard base where he saw that his boat had been taken out of the water and his fish and gear were missing. Barker said he refused to put his initials on the vessel when asked to do so, because “I don’t know anything about no drugs”.
He was taken back to Oistins Police Station and shown some bags of marijuana.
“I say I don’t know nothing about no weed. I was later given a charge sheet and . . . kept on jail until now,” Barker said in his evidence.
With his version of what occurred relayed to the court, the case was then closed.
Barker returns tomorrow to put forward his closing arguments to the jury.