20 months for possessing 140 pounds of ganja

A man described by a magistrate as acting like a drug “courier” was sentenced to 20 months in prison for possession of nearly 140 pounds of ganja with intent to supply.

Leyon Baylis, 23, pleaded guilty to having 139.8 pounds (63.6 kilos) of the illegal drug in his car on Dec. 9, 2016 when he was observed by officers on patrol in West Bay.

Defense attorney Jonathon Hughes described his client as coming from a good family background and having no previous convictions. One day a trusted friend suggested to Baylis that someone needed “some muscle” and he could make some money. Magistrate Valdis Foldats called this situation “the lure of fast money.”

Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson said police officers found the drugs after searching Baylis’s car, parked under a tree by the side of the road, when they smelled ganja. They arrested and cautioned him.

When interviewed, he told police he was in his car when another car arrived with three people who grabbed him and put bags of ganja in his car. He denied the ganja was his or that he had imported it.

Mr. Ferguson said Baylis had been caught red-handed and had not been frank with the court in his early appearances, when he was giving various accounts of his involvement.

The magistrate likened Baylis’s involvement to that of a courier. He pointed out that someone at the top of a drug deal was highly unlikely to be the person delivering the drug.

Mr. Hughes submitted that there was nothing to suggest Baylis had anything to do with bringing the ganja onto the island, describing him as having a “middle man” role.

The magistrate said it was clear to him that, up until this offending, Baylis had been a responsible, well-rounded person. However, Baylis had not been honest from the beginning, he pointed out. “You can’t come to court and lie,” he emphasized.

He said a community-based penalty was not appropriate for this offense. It had to be jail and the sentence would ordinarily be two years. The usual one-third discount would not be given because Baylis had not been honest, the magistrate explained. Instead of an eight month reduction, he gave four months off, for a total of 20 months.

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