Court sits on Saturday

Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale held court on Saturday in an effort to conclude a trial that began on 31 May.

The defendants are three Americans who were arrested in connection with 4.5 kilos of cocaine in October 2005.

If the court had not sat on Saturday, the matter would have had to be adjourned for another seven weeks. This was because of the court’s own schedule and the commitments of defence attorneys and the Crown prosecutor, all of whom are now in Grand Court.

The trial had been part-heard over several days until last week Wednesday. At that time one of the defendants was being questioned by Crown Counsel Kirsti-Ann Gunn.

After Mrs. Gunn indicated she would need more time to complete her cross-examination, the Saturday date was the only one available.

After a five-hour session on Saturday, Defence Attorneys John Furniss and Ben Tonner closed their cases. The court still has to hear closing speeches. These, they agreed, could be before or after normal court hours during the week.

Having a court in session on a weekend is not unprecedented, but it is unusual. The magistrate said it should not be taken as accepted practice, but had to be considered where exigencies require.

Security at the Law Courts Building was not an extra consideration because crews from the Public Works Department were inside doing routine maintenance.

The case heard involves two brothers who were working in construction and a woman visiting one of them.

Anthony Wayne Watson and Thomas Vincent Watson have pleaded guilty to simple possession of the cocaine, on the basis that they had found packages on the beach.

The Crown is pursuing charges of possession of cocaine with intent to supply, to which they pleaded not guilty.

The brothers also pleaded guilty to simple possession of ganja and drug consumption.

Cindy Jo Hair has pleaded not guilty to all charges against her.

The three were arrested after police conducted an operation at the condominium complex where the men were residing and working. Three other persons were also arrested and were fined in February after pleading guilty to drug consumption and simple possession of small quantities for personal use.

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