Prison CCTV did not identify man seen throwing chicken over fence
A woman accused of being concerned in the possession of ganja with intent to supply was found not guilty after Magistrate Valdis Foldats ruled there was not enough evidence to connect her to a chicken that had been thrown over the fence at Northward Prison.
Defence Attorney James Stenning successfully argued last week that the case against his client had been based completely on circumstantial evidence.
The incident leading to the charge occurred around 7am on Monday, 3 January 2011, the New Year’s holiday. A white, four-door motor car was driven to the front of the prison by an unknown person. Someone exited the vehicle and threw an object over the prison fence. The object was recovered by prison officials, who discovered it to be a dead chicken stuffed with what appeared to be vegetable matter resembling ganja.
The incident was recorded on CCTV at the prison, but the individual throwing the chicken could not be identified, although it appeared to be a male. Mr. Stenning emphasised the evidence of a prison officer who said, “I saw no one else in the car.”
The video was sufficiently clear for police to identify the make and model of the car. In addition there was a distinctive mark on its trunk and four of the six digits on the licence plate were visible.
That information led to the defendant, who admitted it was her car. However, she denied driving it to the prison that day or lending it to anyone. “We say the car was taken without her consent. That challenge is enough to explain how the car got to the prison without involving my client,” Mr. Stenning argued.
The magistrate referred to evidence he had heard that at least three other people had keys to the vehicle. But even if the defendant did lend it to someone, there was no evidence to say she lent it for that purpose, he pointed out.
Crown Counsel Aaliyah McCarthy argued that the woman had a reason to be at the prison, as she had a boyfriend there.
“But you don’t have evidence her boyfriend was a drug user,” the magistrate responded.
For all of the reasons indicated, he said he was left in doubt and he dismissed the charge.
The Crown’s evidence included photos of the chicken and a certificate of analysis for a clear plastic bag wrapped in clear adhesive tape and containing ganja plus a smaller plastic bag with a further quantity of ganja.
Total weight of the item analysed was 4.25 ounces, with the ganja weighing 3.64 ounces or 103 grams.