Dead brother’s house lured addict to steal

Drug court client gets seven years

Garrell Walter Smith, a client of
the Drug Rehabilitation Court, was sentenced last week to seven years’ imprisonment
for burglary and cocaine-related offences. He had admitted the burglary, which
occurred in 2006, and a 2002 charge of possessing cocaine with intent to supply
before he was accepted into the Drug Court programme.

During that court’s sitting on 20
July, Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale told Smith his permission to be in
the court had been revoked. Now 36, he had continued to test positive for
consumption of cocaine, and he had a charge of possession of cocaine while in
the programme.

The decision to revoke was made
after a private meeting of the magistrate, drug court treatment providers and
Crown Counsel Jenesha Simpson.

Facts on file indicated that
Smith’s brother died in July 2006 and his widow was in hospital. She had
secured the house before leaving it. Smith entered and stole clothing, DVDs,
small appliances and a laptop. The value of items, not including the laptop,
was over $2,400. Smith denied stealing all of the items, but admitted taking
some to pawn for crack cocaine or to sell in order to buy crack.

The magistrate indicated it was an
egregious breach of trust to steal from one’s own family, especially in the
circumstances at that time. For this offence he received two years.

The 2002 charge related to
information from police that Smith was dealing illicit drugs. Smith denied the
offence and it was put for trial. However, in October 2006 he pleaded guilty
and sentencing was postponed because informal recommendations had been made
since 2004 for him to receive treatment for his addiction.

The magistrate referred to his time
in court and his period of residential rehabilitation, saying he had received
everything the courts had to offer. “We have invested hundreds of thousands of
dollars in your treatment, hoping to establish you in your recovery. None of
these efforts have borne fruit. The opportunity will now go to someone else,”
she said.

The typical sentence for
street-level dealing cocaine is five years on a guilty plea, she noted,
imposing that term. Possession of 0.194 gram of cocaine in August 2009 drew
nine months, but that term was set to run concurrently. The other terms are consecutive.

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  1. Now this type of reporting is what I had expected in the Harrington Rivers’ situation. It is clear that many of the criminal offences currently taking place are as a result of persons who are fighting addictions.

    Is the drug treatment facility an in patient facility? Perhaps we can try and get the families of these addicts some form of counselling as well in order that the habit of enabler is not being used.

    I doubt if a lot of the crimes on Island, at least the hold ups etc are being done by hardened criminals. I think they are being done by persons who are being treated for addiction and whenever they are released because they are still fighting the draw of their drug of choice, they immediately return to a life of crime.

    How long do they have to stay at Haven House? Are they required to do drug tests? It would be good if the media could do a story on this drug treatment facility and let the public know how they can help.

  2. I was saddened to read of Garrell’s sentencing today. The disease of addiction has claimed another victim. I have known Garrell for several years, seeing him regularly while he was living at Caribbean Haven. He was always kind, friendly, humble and pleasant. I also know, from firsthand experience, that the disease of addiction can strip a man of his normal nature and cause him to lie, cheat and steal. Garrell is no exception to this rule. We live in a society where we must suffer the consequences of our actions, and Garrell is doing that now at Northward for 7 long years. Sadly it is the addiction that drove his actions, but it is the whole person who suffers the consequences. Logically, removing the addiction would seem to be the answer…however, recovery from addiction is challenging. The most successful method of long-term recovery is without question the 12-step program as used by Alcoholics Anonymous for over 50 years, and adopted for other addictions such as cocaine, gambling, etc. Most successful rehabs and halfway houses around the world are run as 12-step facilities, employing the principles of recovery inherent in the 12 Steps. Caribbean Haven is not run as a 12-step facility, and I would suggest that now is the time to change the approach, such that we no longer have to sentence our kind, friendly, humble and pleasant young men to prison for the actions of their addictions.