Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill has ordered 44 year-old Richard Steele of Mt. Parnassus in St. George’s to pay a fine of EC$17, 500 after he pleaded guilty to three drug related charges last week Thursday.
Steele was arrested in April 2016 and charged with one (1) count of drug trafficking and 2 counts of possession of a controlled drug and placed on $60, 000 bail.
The accused was nabbed in a police operation at his home which turned up a quantity of illegal drugs – 22 lbs of ganja and 13 ounces of cannabis carrying an estimated street value of $52, 000.
The police also recovered 12 grams of cannabis at Steele’s shop at Mt. Parnassus, valued at $40.
At the time of his arrest, Steele had at least 3 previous convictions of the same nature, dating back to 2001, 2008 and 2011, and also a number of matters pending in other local jurisdictions including Victoria and Carriacou.
Steele, who is a steel-bender by profession, had retained the services of Criminal Attorney-at-Law Francis Paul who made a plea for leniency for him in the matter that was heard in the No.1 Magistrate’s Court in St. George’s.
Attorney Francis told the court that his client is very remorseful about the situation and begged for a non-custodial sentence to be imposed on him.
According to the criminal attorney, his client has assured him that he wants to disassociate himself from this type of lifestyle and to be in a position to set good examples for his 12-year-old son.
“He is totally apologetic…wants to be a role model in his son’s life (and) does not want to be seen as a drug dealer,” Attorney Paul told the court.
Before handing down sentence, Chief Magistrate Gill took the time to contemplate and question Steele’s sudden decision to “throw in the towel.”
The repeated offender was ordered to pay a fine of EC$15, 000 within the next 6 months time for the trafficking charge laid against him or in default spend two (2) years behind bars.
For the two (2) counts of possession of a controlled drug, Steele was fined $2,000.00 and $500.00 with both to be paid within the next 6 months.
Failure to do so will result in the accused having to spend another 12 and 6 months respectively at the Richmond Hill Prison.