A Jamaican national who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import ganja into the Cayman Islands was sentenced last week to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
The time he has spent in custody since last August will be taken into account, Justice Paul Worsley directed.
Christopher Green, 32, pleaded guilty last month to conspiring with others to bring 75 pounds of the illegal substance to Cayman between July 14 and 17, 2016.
Defense attorney Prathna Bodden said there were four others on the boat and Green’s role was to “help the journey” because the others knew he had been to Cayman before.
Crown counsel Eleanor Fargin said Green claimed to have been forced to go on the boat at gunpoint. He also claimed to have been thrown out of the boat at East End, where he swam ashore and then stayed in the bush for three weeks.
His accounts were not consistent, Ms. Fargin advised the court. Green said he had $2,000 on him when he came here. He also denied knowing there were drugs on the boat, but then he admitted that he knew.
Police became aware of the ganja when they received a report in the early hours of July 16. A man in the Prospect area awoke and saw someone who appeared to be intoxicated trying to load bags from a boat onto a child’s wheelchair. The resident called out and the person left. When police arrived, they found bags of ganja on the lawn and loose ganja in a 28-foot canoe near by.
The wheelchair was examined and a fingerprint matching Green’s print was found.
Officers located Green in an SUV near West Bay Road on Aug. 27. When arrested, he immediately told police he was involved with the ganja.
Ms. Fargin noted that Green was in Cayman in 2003 and had convictions from that time for assault.
Ms. Bodden pointed out that those convictions were now spent, so Green was to be treated as a man of good character.
She told the court that he had maintained from the beginning that he was under some pressure to take part. She did not put it as high as duress, but said Green believed there were threats to him and his family. However, he could not provide any evidence of that.
Ms. Bodden described Green’s role as minor. She said he did not have any influence over the others and no one could say for sure who was in charge of the enterprise.
Justice Worsley disagreed. “It’s quite clear he played a significant role,” he said.
The maximum sentence for importation of ganja is seven years for a first offense. The maximum sentence for conspiracy is 10 years.
Green also faced a charge of illegal landing, but that was left in the Summary Court.