Popular radio announcer 32-year-old Simone Francis-Briggs has been fined EC$4, 500.00 for the offence of trafficking in a controlled drug (marijuana) in the country.
The first time offender and mother of three found herself in trouble with the law last week Saturday when Officers form the Drug Squad conducted a search at her Mt. Rush apartment finding approximately 1 pound of Cannabis stashed away in a bag.
Simone, as she is commonly known in radio land, was jointly charged with Vincentian national Keitson Collis in connection with the illegal substance, which carries an estimated street value of more than EC$2, 000.
Both Simone and Collis, who appeared before Magistrate Tahira Gellineau on Tuesday at the St. George’s Number 2 Magistrate Court retained Ciboney Chambers to defend them.
Attorney-at-Law, Peter David was unsuccessful in getting the Prosecution to break down the charge of trafficking a controlled drug to a lesser offense of possession of a controlled drug, which Simone was willing to plead guilty to in court.
Eventually, Collis pleaded not guilty to the charge of trafficking while Simone, who admitted to being a user of the illegal substance pleaded guilty to trafficking.
Attorney David told the court that his client (Simone) accepts full responsibility for the drugs found in her possession because she “smokes” and is a user of the substance.
According to David, his client informed him that she paid approximately EC$300.00 for the drugs as he sought to counter arguments put forward by the Prosecution that the estimated street value was much higher.
The defense attorney said that the female radio announcer had the drugs for her own use and not for trafficking and was willing to plead guilty to a charge of possession.
The police did not charge Simone with possession of the illegal drugs but with trafficking.
David also made a request for bail for the Vincentian national but it was rejected by the Prosecution on the grounds that he was a foreigner and was considered as a flight risk.
The case against Collis for trafficking was eventually dismissed and he walked out of the court room a free man.
The sitting magistrate ruled that Simone must pay the EC$4, 500 fine within the next two months and if she fails to do so be locked up at the Richmond Hill prison to serve a 12-month jail term.
THE NEW TODAY was informed that the female announcer could be evicted from her Chinese-built apartment at Mt. Gay for violating the covenant agreement which allegedly prohibits occupants from meddling in the ganja business.
Speculation is rife that the radio announcer was given the apartment to live after she was virtually left homeless following an abusive relationship with a male companion.
Hearing of the drug case was marred by an incident in which reporters who were in the court to cover the proceedings were denied the opportunity to take notes in the courtroom.
Attorney David appealed to the Magistrate for permission to be given to the assembled reporters but his plea fell on deaf ears.
David argued that if reporters carried wrong information in such a situation then they should not be blamed because they are not allowed to come into the court with their writing material.
The Magistrate maintained her position which was adopted a few weeks ago and communicated by a police officer on duty that she “did not want writing in her court room”.
The Police Prosecutor seemingly backed the decision of Magistrate Gellineau when he indicated that there is no law on the books in Grenada which provides for reporters to write in the court.