Two of five men changed with importation of ganja have a previous conviction for the same offence, Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale noted when the five came to Summary court on Tuesday.
The five were arrested during an operation that took place on 8 September involving over 600 pounds of the illegal substance.
They are: Henry Heron, 30, of Hanover, Jamaica; Shawn Reid, 20, Westmoreland, Jamaica; Jasper Stewart, 37, Portland, Jamaica; Cleveland Roxgoughly, 55, of Westmoreland; and Dençle Vic Barnes, 39, of a Prospect address in Grand Cayman.
Heron pleaded guilty in 2005 to his role in the importation of ganja into the West Bay area in September that year. He served a term of imprisonment before being sent back to Jamaica.
Barnes pleaded guilty to his involvement in the importation of 984 pounds of ganja in February 2007 in the North Side area. He received a suspended sentence.
The maximum sentence for a first conviction for importation of ganja is seven years. The maximum for a second or subsequent conviction is 15 years.
There are 19 offences that attract legal aid, but a 20th category is ‘any other offence punishable with imprisonment for 14 years or more.’
On that basis the magistrate granted legal aid to Heron, who is represented by Attorney Ben Tonner.
Attorney John Furniss asked for legal aid for Barnes also, but the magistrate said she would let the authority decide. ‘Your client may find himself not granted legal aid because he may have funds,’ she told him.
She indicated she was prepared to grant legal aid for those defendants incapable of representing themselves.
All five men were remanded in custody until 22 September, when the magistrate said their legal representation would be revisited.
The men were arrested after a 32-foot vessel was intercepted off the Spotts coastline of Grand Cayman around 12.30am last week Tuesday by Marine Unit Officers aboard Tornado and Cayman Defender.
The Cayman Islands Helicopter was also utilised.