Both defendants accused in the illegal importation of an exotic possum known as a “sugar gilder” last June pleaded guilty to some of the charges against them Thursday in Summary Court.
Jimel McLean, the son of East End MLA Arden McLean, pleaded guilty to one charge of importing a live animal without a license and an additional charge of importing a biological product without a license.
Sabrina Walton, the second defendant in the case, pleaded guilty to a lone charge of importing a live animal without a license.
A separate charge relating to illegal animal importation against both defendants was ultimately not put to them by the court, according to a mutual agreement between the Crown and defense attorneys, the court heard Thursday.
Sentencing was delayed until Feb. 8 to give the Crown more time to make representations as to punishment for the two defendants.
“The penalty is going to be the important thing here,” Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez said, adding that she would like to be guided by submissions from the Crown in the matter.
Defense attorneys Richard Barton, acting for Mr. McLean, and Nick Dixey, for Ms. Walton, said the maximum punishment on the charges were fines of up to $500 and an imprisonment term of six months.
Mr. Dixey said his client was anxious to see the matter completed.
“It has also taken a while to get the matter to this stage,” Magistrate Hernandez said.
The importation charges relate to importing an animal on June 7, 2017 without a valid import permit as required by the Animals Law. The charge of importing a biological product without a valid permit against Mr. McLean relates to 25 doses of a canine distemper vaccine.
The charges arose after an incident aboard a Cayman-bound jet, when the sugar glider reportedly got loose in the airplane cabin.
A sugar glider is a small marsupial, in the same family as the kangaroo and the koala, with web-like membranes that stretch back from its paws, allowing it to glide, but not fly, through the air. The six-inch marsupial is endemic to Australia and the southwest Pacific. It is sometimes owned as a pet.