Harbone Mackinon Griffith claims he was forced to join an enterprise to import 525.36 pounds of marijuana into Barbados because the lives of his two daughters were being threatened.
“I would like to apologise to the court for my misbehavoiur in society. My two little girls’ lives were being threatened through an incident me and a guy had years ago. So, he decided to hit back at me by getting back at my two little children so I could do a deed for him.
“I made various complaints to the police and nothing came out of it. He even had people running about behind my children, spying bout and sending pictures of my children telling me he know where to get them, he know where them is. So I did it out of trying to protect my children.
“I begging for the court’s leniency in this matter,” Griffith, 49, of Checker Hall, St Lucy said as he addressed the No. 2 Supreme Court judge, Justice Randall Worrell this morning via Zoom.
Griffith had previously pleaded guilty to importation, trafficking and possession of 238.3 kilogrammes or 525.36 pounds of cannabis. He will return before Justice Worrell on August 13. The time he has spent on remand will be submitted by prison officials before he is sentenced.
Mitigating on Griffith’s behalf attorney-at-law Angela Mitchell-Gittens urged the court to be as lenient as possible while Crown Counsel Oliver Thomas submitted that a starting sentence of seven years would be an appropriate punishment under the circumstances.
Both submitted that the most aggravating feature of the case was the quantity of drugs involved. They also agreed that there was “no great level” of sophistication. However Thomas said Griffith “played a substantial and important role” in the enterprise.
He told the court that Coast Guard officials were conducting surveillance about ten nautical miles off Batt’s Rock, St Michael on August 30, 2018 when they received information and began heading in the direction of Heron Bay, St James. On the way they spotted a white vessel off Holetown registration number J6-1464 bearing the name Power Struggle. Three men were spotted on board the boat, which began making evasive manoeuvres on seeing the Coast Guard vessel.
The boat was intercepted about 15 nautical miles off Heron Bay with three people on board including Griffith.
The bags containing the cannabis along with the detainees were taken to the Coast Guard base and subsequently to the Oistins Police Station.