After being caught with drugs for a third time, a St Michael man was today counting his lucky stars after he was ordered to complete community service.
For 32-year-old Peter Leroy St Clair Toppin, of #2 Whitehall, his Santa Claus came in the form of Magistrate Douglas Frederick when he appeared in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court.
While Toppin pleaded guilty to having cannabis in his possession on December 8, 2018, what ended up being his saving grace was the fact that the drugs weighed only 0.5 grams.
Prosecutor Station Sergeant Carrison Henry told the court police were on patrol along Warrens, St Michael, when they saw a vehicle approaching with Toppin in the front passenger seat. After police signalled the vehicle to stop, Toppin got out and ran but was pursued and eventually apprehended. After consenting to a search a small amount of vegetable matter was found in a ziploc bag.
Attorney-at-law Verla De Peiza who appeared on behalf of Toppin, told the court that while this was not her client’s first drug offence, the quantity of drugs confiscated this time was extremely small.
“That is as small as it gets and my client has not wasted the court’s time,” she said. “He is very sorry and is throwing himself at the mercy of the court.”
After hearing that Toppin is employed at his aunt’s shop, the magistrate told him he should consider himself a lucky man.
“This is your one chance. Do not come before me again with a charge like this,” Frederick warned.
He then sentenced Toppin to complete 80 hours of community service by the time he returns to court on February 22, 2019.