Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale delivered a stern warning to persistent ganja offender in summary court Wednesday: expect to do jail time if you scorn the path of rehabilitation through Cayman’s new drug treatment court.
The magistrate was responding to a sentencing request from Defence Attorney Lloyd Sampson that his client, Paul Stewart, receive a financial penalty in relation to possession and consumption of ganja charges.
Stewart had previously pleaded guilty to the charges. Mr. Sampson acknowledged that his client was previously convicted of the same charges in 2003.
Magistrate Ramsay-Hale said Stewart appeared to be a persistent ganja user.
‘This court will not tolerate ganja use,’ she said. ‘We now offer an alternative for addicted drug users in the form of the drug treatment court. We say ‘we are here to help you’, but anyone that spurs that offer must be prepared to go to prison.’
In the end, the magistrate did not send Stewart directly to jail, instead imposing a six month suspended sentences, in addition to a $750 fine and $135 is costs.
The Cayman Islands Drug Treatment Court commenced 9 October after years of planning.
Its mission is to hold criminal offenders accountable, to stop criminal activity related to the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and to increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation of offenders through early, continuous and intensively judicially supervised substance abuse treatment and other appropriate rehabilitation services that will allow participants to become more integrated in the community as productive and responsible members of society.