Making it clear that resorting to illegal means was not the answer, Magistrate Deidre Mckenna ordered a Canadian man to pay $80 000 or face 36 months at Dodds for importing marijuana into Barbados.
However, David William Deane from #70 Westwood Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada was unable to pay the forthwith fine on Tuesday and was sent to the St Philip jail.
The 59-year-old was convicted, reprimanded and discharged for the offence of trafficking the drug, while he was reprimanded and discharged for the offences of possession and possession with intent to supply.
Station Sergeant Peter Barrow told the Oistins Magistrates’ Court the visitor arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport on August 27 with two suitcases. After clearing immigration, he was interviewed by Customs officials who requested a search of his luggage.
In one suitcase, officers found 30 vacuum-sealed packages of cannabis and the other piece of luggage contained 31 similar packages. The drugs, according to prosecutor Barrow, weighed 30.8 kilogrammes and had an estimated street value of $246 000.
When asked to account for the drugs, Deane admitted knowledge and ownership saying, “I know I had marijuana in my suitcase”.
The matter was referred to police who took the non-national into custody where he was informed of his rights. He waived his rights to an attorney but spoke with a representative from the Canadian consulate.
“I can’t afford a lawyer, otherwise I would have had a lawyer,” said Deane as he began addressing Magistrate McKenna on Tuesday on his reason for committing the crime.
“It was an opportunity. I don’t know what to say. I have never done this before. I did it because my daughter committed suicide two years ago and she left two grandchildren and I am trying to take care of them the best I can.
“I can’t work as I once did due to injuries. My disability pension in Canada is like $1 200 a month. I have like about $5 000 to my name at this moment, that’s it. My mother is sick in the hospital . . . . It was a lot of bad things that led . . . to this situation. So, I mean, whatever. It is what it is. I don’t have money.”
Deane went on to explain that his grandchildren also did not have a father as he had died in a motor vehicle accident.
Magistrate McKenna, who took the convict’s early guilty plea into consideration, said while she empathised with his situation there were always alternatives to breaking the law.
“You come into a country, you bring something that you know is illegal, you risk everything you have at home, now those two girls are back there with God knows who, and they still have to be supported while you may be going to prison.
“The fact is, that is not a chance that you should be taking if you are saying to me that you are the only person that they have to rely on. I am sure there are systems in place in Canada that can assist you with those girls given the situation. Resorting to doing something illegal is not the answer, so I hope you do not find yourself back in this situation again,” she said before imposing sentence.