No owner of ganja stashes found

West Bay resident not guilty of possession with intent to supply

After a two-day trial, Magistrate Valdis Foldats found a West Bay resident not guilty of possessing 6.4 pounds of ganja with intent to supply. 

The magistrate agreed with defense attorney John Furniss that there was no case for Carl Demmie Ebanks to answer. 

A police officer gave evidence that he and others went to a residence around 11 p.m. on July 26, 2013, with a search warrant. The door was open, but there was no response when officers called out. The officers then entered the premises. 

In the bathroom, an officer found a black plastic bag containing ganja in a locker under the basin. Efforts were made to get a scenes-of-crime officer to photograph it in position, but no one was available. An officer took pictures with his cellphone. 

After leaving the building, the officer saw a bucket at the front of the house. He searched it and found several plastic bags and ganja. 

Questioned by Mr. Furniss, the officer confirmed that nobody was there when he went to the house. Asked if the premises belonged to Mr. Ebanks, the officer said that was what he had been told when he went to the area. 

Mr. Furniss asked about forensic evidence such as fingerprints or DNA. The officer did not recall whether any prints had been recovered. He said a request had been made for DNA testing, but he was not aware of any results being returned. 

The officer agreed that he had learned two other adults lived in the house. 

On Monday, Crown counsel Neil Kumar concluded the case for the prosecution by playing a tape of the defendant’s interview. In it, he denied any knowledge of the illegal drug. 

In his no-case submission, Mr. Furniss argued that the police had not shown that the premises was used exclusively by the defendant. He also noted the lack of fingerprint or DNA evidence. 

The magistrate agreed. He pointed out that there was no schematic to show where the washroom was in the house or whether use of it was exclusive to any one person. 

The drugs in the bathroom were not in clear view, he pointed out. Further, there had been zero evidence of odor. The officer had gone past the bucket outside the house and only found that portion of ganja when he was leaving. The magistrate also did not know whether the bucket was outside the door or 50 feet away. 

In summary, there had to be enough evidence to satisfy him beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, he said, there was insufficient evidence that the defendant had knowledge of the presence of ganja on the premises.