Bail denied on ganja charges

Magistrate Valdis Foldats denied bail on Tuesday after hearing details of ganja charges against Jermaine Jerome Barnes, 29, of a George Town address.

Barnes faces two charges of possessing ganja with intent to supply and one of cultivating ganja, in addition to a separate charge of possessing criminal property.

Crown counsel Eleanor Fargin said officers attended Barnes’s residence last week with a search warrant and saw him sitting in a vehicle nearby. They approached the car and identified themselves. On the passenger side they saw a bag with eight packages in it.

Barnes told the officers someone had asked him to keep the bag until someone came to collect it.

Officers then conducted a search at Barnes’s residence, where they found two jars of ganja in the kitchen and more ganja in a small plastic bag. In the backyard there were ganja plants and seeds.

Officers also found his passport and an electronic ticket that suggested a flight to Great Britain at 7:15 p.m. that same day. Further, they found US$741; that money is the subject of the charge of possessing criminal property.

Barnes admitted smoking ganja and putting some cigarette papers into one of the packages found in the car. He repeated his account of having the bag to pass on to someone, but he did not name any person.

Ms. Fargin said she did not yet have the weight of the illegal drugs, but she handed up photographs, which she said showed that the amount was significant.

She pointed out that Barnes was to have returned to court for a part-heard matter – trial for possession and consumption of ganja – later this month, but the plane ticket showed a return date of July 27.

Defense attorney Prathna Bodden explained that Barnes had intended to go away for two weeks. He was not sure of his exact return date and had been told that the fee for changing would be nominal.

Barnes maintained that the ganja in his home was for personal use, she told the court. He and his files had been brought to the courthouse on Monday, she noted, but there was an alarming incident and it ended up with Barnes being taken to hospital.

“It is suspected that he had a minor heart attack,” Ms. Bodden advised, adding that it may have been brought on by anxiety. The defendant is now on medication, she said.

The magistrate expressed concern, in part because of Barnes’s previous ganja convictions. He denied bail, but told Barnes he could take his bail application to Grand Court. All charges were adjourned until the part-heard matter, which is set for Feb. 17.