Cupcake papers weren’t for baking

Three-month sentence for possession of ganja with intent to supply

Hartwell Demore Ebanks told Magistrate Grace Donalds on Wednesday that he had cupcake papers because he planned to bake cupcakes.

However, the magistrate concluded after hearing all of the evidence, the cupcake papers were found near a pound of ganja and not in any proximity to flour or cake mix or any other baking ingredients.

She therefore found Ebanks guilty of possessing the ganja with intent to supply. The police officer who found the ganja in Ebanks’ room told the court that, in his experience, cupcake papers associated with ganja were used for wrapping the vegetable matter. Asked if the ganja would be wrapped for supply or for personal use, he said the wrapping was for sale.

The officer’s evidence was that he and other officers executed a search warrant at Ebanks’ residence in West Bay around 4pm on 25 May this year. Other people also lived at the premises.

About five minutes after the search started, Ebanks told the officer words to the effect, “In the name of the Queen, I am declaring I have a draw of weed.” Shortly afterwards, the officer found ganja in a box under some old clothing. The ganja was wrapped in clear plastic and the package was about the size of a hard hat. In the same box, near the vegetable matter was a package of cupcake papers.

When the vegetable matter was tested, it was confirmed to be ganja, with a weight of 1.25 pounds or 500 grams.

Crown Counsel Michael Snape also shared Ebanks’ answers when he was questioned by police. The defendant said he had found the ganja that same morning by the town hall play field. He had put it in the box in his room because he was going to smoke it.

Asked about the cupcake holders, he said he was going to use them for baking cupcakes.

Defence attorney John Furniss submitted that Ebanks should not be called on to answer the charge in the absence of any other evidence because he had already admitted simple possession of the drug.

No scale had been found, he pointed out; the officer had not seized any money from Ebanks, and there was no surveillance to show people going in and out to make purchases. On the other hand, Mr. Furniss emphasised, there was a pipe with traces of cocaine and ganja in it. Further, the quantity of ganja was not so large that Ebanks could not have used it by himself.

The magistrate found there was a case to answer and Ebanks took the stand to give evidence. Questioned by Mr. Snape, he agreed he did not have a stove in his room to bake the cupcakes. He explained, “The kitchen doesn’t have cabinets, so I throwed the cupcake wrappers in my bedroom.”

He said he also kept his food in his bedroom. Asked if he kept the food in the box with the ganja, he said no, he kept things on the top of the cabinet in his room.

The lab analysis report indicated that the pipe had been found on his dresser.

The magistrate summed up all these circumstances in reaching her guilty verdict.

She imposed a term of three months imprisonment. Ebanks, 45, had earlier pleaded guilty to threatening violence after his arrest. He said he was vexed because he thought the person he threatened had called police on him. He received a concurrent sentence for that offence, as well as for consuming ganja and cocaine.