Eight years for cocaine, ecstasy

Drugs hidden in soft drink containers

A 30-year-old man has been
sentenced to eight years in prison for possession of 1.453 ounces of cocaine
with intent to supply. The same charge, relating to 27 ecstasy tablets, netted
six years, but Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale directed that the two
terms run concurrently.

During the trial of Freddy William
Bodden, who initially appeared in court as Freddy Bodden-Cordero, police said
they found the drugs in October 2006 in premises rented by Bodden. Police
testified that they found in the refrigerator a soft drink can with a vial with
the 27 tablets and 23 small plastic bags inside. Elsewhere in the kitchen they
found a bottle of cola beverage that had a false compartment in the middle
containing a white powder. The powder later tested as 41.2 grams of cocaine.

Bodden, who had pleaded not guilty,
testified that numerous people had access to his home and that he had not been
staying there for some weeks before his arrest. Defence attorney Nicholas Dixey
presented the evidence of a real estate agent, who said previous tenants had
left many items in the house. Mr. Dixey argued that the drugs could have been
put in the house or left there by other people.

The magistrate rejected this
argument.

“A drug, to a user as well as to a
dealer, represents a valuable commodity,” she said, adding that it strained
credulity to suggest that someone would leave a drug stash behind and risk
discovery and seizure.

The officers also discovered a
small quantity of morphine tablets and a little over 2 ounces of ganja.

Mr. Dixey began the sentencing
hearing with a plea for Mr. Bodden to be sentenced as the man he was now,
rather than the man he had been in 2006.

“He was living a fast and loose
lifestyle at the time,” the attorney acknowledged.

Additionally, the defence pointed
out that had matured in the past four years, that he held responsible
employment with his father’s business, that he had married and was now a
father. He never missed a court date and had no new matters.

Some of the delay in concluding
this case had come about because of a legal point, having to do with whether
the Grand Court had jurisdiction. The question went to the Privy Council and
resulted in an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Law (in November 2009), Mr.
Dixey summarised.

“The time he has been coming to
court has been akin to serving a sentence, having this hang over his head
without relief,” Mr. Dixey said. “He has been serving a sentence emotionally,
if not physically…. Other offenders around that time have finished their
sentences and rebuilt their lives.”

For all those reasons, he suggested
a sentence of two years. “If you agree, then we’re in suspended sentence
territory.”

The magistrate did not agree. She
said the quantities of the drugs, plus the possession of paraphernalia,
including a scale, and money, all indicated commercial supply. Cases cited by
Mr. Dixey and Crown Counsel Alister Cumming referred to social supply.

As Mr. Cumming pointed out, the
tariff for less than 2 ounces of cocaine is eight years. A Cayman case
involving the designer drug ecstasy led Chief Justice Anthony Smellie to
declare a tariff of four to six years to deter the threat of it becoming
popular here (Caymanian Compass, 2 June 2000).

Part of the delay in Bodden’s case
came from his maintaining a- not guilty plea, the magistrate pointed out. Had
he pleaded guilty, he would have had the benefit of a discounted sentence and
perhaps be nearing its completion.

The magistrate said she could
acknowledge the personal changes Bodden had made by not imposing an additional
sentence for the breach of probation that occurred when these offences were
committed. She also gave him concurrent sentences for possession of the ganja
and morphine, accepting that the morphine was for his own use to ease pain.
However, he did not have a prescription for it, so it was illegally possessed.

“I regret that your wife and child
will lose your companionship and support, but it is a result of your own
choices,” she told Bodden.

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