Magistrate Grace Donalds ruled on Wednesday that there was no case for Troy Oliver Pearson to answer after he was charged with importation and possession with intent to supply 108 pounds of ganja.
With no case to answer, these charges were dismissed and Pearson was not guilty. He faced other charges, however, arising from the same circumstances: assaulting a police officer and assaulting a customs officer on May 22 this year at a residence in Prospect.
These charges were put to him and he pleaded guilty. The magistrate ordered a social inquiry report and sentencing was set for Jan. 31.
Pearson was originally charged because he was inside the premises where the ganja was found when police officers went there. He struggled with them and made a successful escape, but later turned himself in.
After the case for the prosecution was concluded, defense attorney Nicholas Dixey argued that there was no case for Pearson to answer for the large quantity of illegal vegetable matter.
Although the defendant had been inside the premises, he did not live there. When interviewed, he had told police he simply went there to buy some ganja. Mr. Dixey submitted a Grand Court ruling that said mere occupation of a premises was not sufficient evidence of possession of the drugs found there; the court had to be satisfied that the person had control of the drug to the exclusion of other persons present.
Crown counsel Scott Wainwright argued that Pearson’s fingerprint was on one of the buckets of ganja, but Mr. Dixey countered that Pearson had already admitted he might have touched one of the buckets.
He also noted there was no evidence of Pearson’s involvement in large-scale drugs: no paraphernalia at his own home, no large amounts of cash, no suspicious bank activities.
Further, Pearson did not have keys to that premises; the man with him at the time held the keys. The other man pleaded guilty to importation and was sentenced to 38 months’ imprisonment.
Pearson did plead guilty on a previous occasion to consumption of ganja, possession of a small quantity in his vehicle, and escaping lawful custody.
His bail was continued until Jan. 31, with conditions that include a curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. and drug testing twice per week.