Visitor sentenced for methadone

A visitor from Massachusetts was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment after pleading guilty to possession of methadone with intent to supply.

Blake Francis Parker, 54, had a prescription for the drug. However, he said he would have given it to another person, whom he described as a heroin addict.

Methadone is a prescription drug used in the treatment of heroin addiction. It is a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Law.

Parker had four tablets, with a total weight of 18.48 grams.

Magistrate Grace Donalds imposed the term of imprisonment and said she took into account Parker’s relatively early guilty plea and circumstances, in particular the difficulties he appeared to have relating to his health.

Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey said those difficulties included a bi-polar condition, cardiac problems and syncope. This last condition had caused him to fall at least six times since being on island. In custody since 19 March, Parker was ‘constantly being taken to the hospital because of these medical concerns,’ the lawyer said.

Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees outlined the background to the charge.

She said police were called on 19 March to a West Bay Road hotel where Parker and a female were sharing a room.

In the presence of police officers, Parker made a phone call and told the person he was talking to that he had the methadone from an old prescription. He knew he shouldn’t, but he had it to supply to the female, who was a heroin addict.

Ms Lees said it was accepted that this was not commercial dealing and was at the lowest end of supply.

Mr. Dixey called this offence extraordinary, noting he could not find any local precedent for methadone.

He explained that Parker had met the female about six months before coming to Cayman. They formed a platonic friendship and he invited her on this trip.

Three weeks before they arrived, Mr. Dixey narrated, Parker discovered that the woman was a heroin addict. His plan was to rehabilitate her here in Cayman. He brought the methadone along with his other medications. If necessary and if she became depressed, he would have supplied it to her.

Things began to deteriorate when she started going through withdrawal, Mr. Dixey said. There was a struggle between them, which led to charges of assault against Parker. The female subsequently left the island and did not want to pursue prosecution.

The defendant was charged with assault and assault causing actual bodily harm, but these were not proceeded with.

Mr. Dixey emphasised that Parker’s intentions wee in no way nefarious. The strongest evidence of this was his admission under caution. The police officers were surprised by this, but the only explanation Mr. Dixey said he could offer was that Parker genuinely did not understand he was doing anything wrong.

In passing sentence, the magistrate said time already in custody would be taken into account, which should allow for the defendant’s immediate release.

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