Man admits cocaine possession; no analysis

Small pieces of an off-white substance suspected to be crack cocaine had not yet been analysed when defendant Michael Dion O’Neill appeared in Summary Court on Monday, 19 December.

Crown Counsel Andre Mon Desir told Magistrate Nova Hall that he could not specify the weight of the substance because of the inability to analyse drugs on island.

Defence Attorney John Furniss told the court that O’Neill accepted the substance was cocaine and wanted to deal with the matter rather than wait for a certificate of analysis.

A person who pleads guilty to possession of drugs is deemed to know what he was in possession of.

O’Neill, a Canadian national, had been in custody since his arrest on 7 December.

Mr. Mon Desir explained that officers from the West Bay station were on patrol around 2am when they stopped to speak with a pedestrian.

They observed three bicycles on the ground nearby and became suspicious. They searched the area and found two male persons hiding on a patch of ground between a container and some hedges.

They recovered a match box containing the small pieces of substance they suspected to be cocaine.

O’Neill and the man with him were arrested and charged with joint possession. The other man, a local, was released on bail.

When interviewed four days later, O’Neill had no comment. He refused to provide a specimen of urine for testing, but said he would when he acquired a lawyer.

Mr. Mon Desir advised the court that, although there was no formal analysis, one of the officers in the matter had estimated the substance was ‘probably ten dollars worth.’ He suggested that the weight, therefore, was probably less than one-tenth of a gram.

Mr. Furniss thanked the officer for his confirmation of the small amount.

He noted that O’Neill, 31, had been held at Central Police Station since his arrest because there was room at Northward Prison.

The defendant had been concerned because there were problems contacting his family. But he had made arrangements to leave the island and had somewhere to stay until his flight.

The magistrate imposed a fine of $300 for possession of cocaine or 30 days in lieu; $300 for refusing or 30 days in lieu. At Mr. Mon Desir’s request, she ordered O’Neill to pay $75 costs or serve 10 days in lieu.

She directed that the $675 was to be paid that day. Otherwise, time in custody would be deducted from the time to be served.

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