Court commends employer

Caribbean Utilities Company was commended in Summary Court recently when one of its employees was dealt with for ganja offences.

The young man pleaded guilty to simple possession of 15.85 grams of ganja and possession of a utensil used in the consumption of ganja.

Given his age, his good work record and the fact that he had no previous convictions, Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale indicated she was minded to send him to the Probation Department for assessment.

But Defence Attorney Lloyd Samson advised the court that the defendant had just completed an intensive 12-week programme after his employer referred him to the Employee Assistance Programme. A urine test after the holidays tested negative for drugs.

The magistrate commended CUC. She said it was not enough for the community to ask what the courts are doing about drug abuse: the community must be pro-active. In this case, rather than fire the defendant and put him on the street, the company was supporting him in his recovery, she indicated.

The offences occurred in the first half of 2005, with the defendant making his first appearance in court in October.

Mr. Samson noted that the young man initially pleaded guilty to consumption, but not guilty to possession. He explained that the defendant had joined two companions and when police came on the scene he had attempted to push the items out of sight. The young man had now accepted his involvement.

The magistrate told the defendant he could now see how easy it was to get embroiled in things by keeping certain company. She urged him to keep in mind his job and all he had achieved so far.

She said she was pleased with the initiative he and his employer had taken. The offences could therefore be dealt with by way of fines: $500 each for possession and consumption of ganja, $250 for the utensil.