A 61-year-old St. John’s resident will spend the next 7 years and 3 months behind bars at the Richmond Hill Prison for the offence of Trafficking in a Controlled Drug.
The sentence was handed down last week Friday on Errol Sylvester from Mt. Nesbit, St John by Trinidadian-born High Court Judge, Justice Shiraf Aziz at the No. 5 High Court in St. George’s.
Sylvester was on February 25, 2015 apprehended by police after a search of the bus he was travelling in revealed 10 fine bags of marijuana, weighing 182 pounds with an estimated street value of $417, 776, along with another parcel containing 10 pounds of Kongo gold.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the convicted man had hired the bus, which ply the Gouyave to St. George’s route, to make the drug run.
However, the party was intercepted by a party of police officers somewhere in the vicinity of Lake Antoine in St. Patrick while they were travelling in the direction of River Sallee.
The evidence presented in court indicated that Sylvester was picked up at his home in Mt. Nesbit, by the Bus Driver, whom he then instructed to drive to a plantation area in La Poterie, St. Patrick.
Sylvester was reportedly approached by four men, who emerged from the bushes who then put four (4) fine bags filled with the illegal drugs into the back of the bus.
Both Sylvester and the Bus Driver were arrested by the police but he was the only one slapped with charges of Possession and Trafficking a Controlled Drug.
Sylvester, who has 7 previous convictions of the same nature, was indicted for the offence in April 2015 and pleaded not guilty to the offences.
However, a year later he accepted responsibility for the drugs and pleaded guilty to the Trafficking charge upon arraignment in May 2016.
State Prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Crisan Greenidge told the court that the accused had committed the offence days before he was to be sentenced for a similar offence involving $72, 576.00 worth of marijuana and $11, 365.00 worth of cocaine.
Sylvester was sentenced to one year imprisonment for that offence, which dates back to December 2012.
In mitigating Sylvester’s case, his attorney George Prime told the judge that he is very remorseful and tried to get the court to take into consideration his guilty plea although it was late in coming.
Attorney Prime asked the court to consider the age of the convicted man as a mitigating factor and not visit him with a custodial sentence by “administering justice tempered with mercy and allow him to be reintegrated into society.”
“A custodial sentence is not necessary to equate the court’s abhorrence of the crime,” Attorney Prime told Justice Aziz.
However, in handing down sentence, the judge told Sylvester that he finds it hard to “swallow” that he is remorseful due to the timing of the offence and considered his guilty plea as an aggravating factor as it was not entered into at the first opportunity.
Justice Aziz noted the fact that Sylvester is a repeated offender, the seriousness of the offence and the large quantity of drugs found as also aggravating factors.
“There are no mitigating factors as far as I am concerned,” Justice Aziz declared, adding, that due to the prevalence of the offence in the country and the harmful repercussions to individuals, the sentences handed down by the court must show that such crimes would not be tolerated.