Haniff Bacchus, the 71-year-old Guyanese national who was fined EC$50, 000 for having 2.5 kilogrammes of cocaine in his possession at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA), was released from the Richmond Hill Prison last week Tuesday, approximately 20 days after the fine was imposed upon him.
Information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that the retired construction worker was accompanied by one of his daughters and other relatives when he departed the MBIA on an undisclosed flight, with connections back to his homeland.
The elderly man, who has restricted mobility, found himself in trouble with the law after the illegal substance, which carries an estimated street value of $342, 727.23, was found inside a false compartment of his wheelchair.
At the time of his apprehension, Bacchus, who travelled to the island from England and spent only 3 days, was preparing to depart the MBIA onboard an Air Canada flight AC1733, on May 5, to visit family members in Canada.
The 71-year-old man, who was remanded to prison, pleaded guilty to ‘Trafficking a Controlled Drug’ on May 18 and with the assistance of his attorney, Derrick Sylvester, the Chief Magistrate, Tamara Gill imposed a fine of $50, 000 to be paid forthwith for the offence.
The court held the view that persons caught with large quantities of drugs should be sent to prison as a penalty.
However, Attorney Sylvester argued a strong mitigation case for the senior citizen who has been living with HIV for the last 10 years, pointing to the significant challenges to be faced by the prison if he was to remain there.
If Bacchus was unable to pay the fine, he would have had to spend the next 3 years behind bars at the prison.
THE NEW TODAY understands that 47-year-old Derrick Patterson, who is the brother of Guyana’s Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, is still in custody at the Richmond Hill Prison, after not being able to pay the EC$75, 000 fine that was imposed on him for the offence of ‘Trafficking a Controlled Drug’.
Chief Magistrate Gill imposed the hefty fine to be paid forthwith, with a default sentence of 3 years imprisonment after Patterson pleaded guilty to the offence on May 24.
The government minister’s brother, found himself in trouble with the law after 2.325 kilograms of Cocaine was found on the passenger side of a rented motorcar in the vicinity of a parking lot of a popular restaurant in the south of the island on May 2.