Prison officer jailed for ganja possession

Former prison officer David Hugh Lyn was sentenced to six months imprisonment on Wednesday after pleading guilty to possession of ganja with intent to supply.

According to facts set out by Crown Counsel Tanya Lobban, less than two ounces of the drug were found during a routine search of Lyn’s bag when he reported for work.

Ms Lobban said Drugs Task Force officers responded to a call from Northward Prison on Saturday, 27 August 2005.

Lyn’s knapsack had been found to contain two packages. One, in silver tape, contained ganja and a cell phone charger. The other, in masking tape, contained ganja.

When police officers told him it was ganja, he replied ‘yes’. When cautioned he did not reply.

Lyn was escorted to the police station and interviewed. He admitted having the ganja with the intention of supplying it to an inmate. He said he had been offered $100 by a relative to take the ganja into the prison.

Defence Attorney Lloyd Samson asked Magistrate Nova Hall to temper justice with mercy because of the manner in which Lyn had already been punished and would continue to be punished. At the same time he acknowledged the magistrate’s duty to impose a sentence that would be punitive and deterrent.

The defendant, 39, had lived in Cayman for 15 years and was employed as a prison officer for nine years, Mr. Samson said. Until this incident Lyn had an impeccable work record and enjoyed a good reputation. He was married, with four children

Now his career was at an end. Most likely he would suffer revocation of his right to remain here.

Clearly, Lyn’s decision to carry the ganja was foolish and ill-advised, Mr. Samson agreed. His instructions were that Lyn lived close to several relatives; including the one he said had asked him to carry the ganja. He felt a certain degree of pressure or fear that contributed greatly to his decision. Lyn never received any money, Mr. Samson said.

Now the defendant’s fall from grace and loss of reputation would far surpass any sentence imposed that day, he continued.

According to guidelines and previous cases, sentences for possession of ganja with intent to supply have ranged suspended to 18 months for amounts less than 100 pounds.

In Lyn’s case the amounts were 25 grams and 26 grams (28.345 grams equals one ounce), putting his offence at the very lowest end of the scale, Mr. Samson submitted.

But he conceded that the aggravating feature was the breach of trust, given the nature of Lyn’s employment.

Mr. Samson asked the court to give some directions regarding Lyn’s custody, since ‘we wouldn’t want to jeopardise his safety.’ He expressed concern that Lyn would either be among the general population at Northward Prison or spend his incarceration in maximum security, where he would be separated 23 hours out of 24.

The preference would be for Lyn to serve his sentence at the West Bay Police Station, he said, despite the constraints there.

In passing sentence, the magistrate told Lyn that Mr. Samson was correct in calling the offence a very foolish action, given the post he had held and his previous standing in society.

‘Considering the remuneration you were allegedly offered, it certainly boggles the mind that you would get involved,’ she told him.

The magistrate said she took note of the quantity of soft drug, the guilty plea and the significant consequences of Lyn losing his reputation.

She also accepted that, given his previous occupation, incarceration would affect him more severely than it would someone with no previous ties to the prison.

In recognition of possible danger, the defendant is to be separated from the general prison population, the magistrate directed. However, she did not see that she could order where he would be held.

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