Boat forfeited over four pounds of ganja

A man who said he went to Jamaica to buy a boat had the boat forfeited on his return to Cayman because a crew member had four pounds of ganja.

Dencle Vic Barnes, 49, and Marvin Campbell, 27, were charged with importing ganja after an incident that occurred some time after 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2017.

Crown counsel Emma Hutchinson outlined the facts when Mr. Barnes was sentenced last month and again on Monday when Mr. Campbell was sentenced.

She told Magistrate Grace Donalds that police carried out an investigation after two males were observed aboard a blue and white Jamaican canoe off the coast of Bodden Town. Later, 4.3 pounds of ganja was found aboard. Mr. Barnes was the captain and Mr. Campbell was crew. The Crown’s case was that Mr. Barnes had recruited Mr. Campbell, who was seen at the front of the boat.

When interviewed, Mr. Campbell said the 4.3 pounds of ganja belonged to him. He also told police that about 100 pounds of ganja had been thrown overboard.

In court, Mr. Campbell gave evidence that he had invented the story of 100 pounds of ganja because he was frightened at the time of the interview. He said he thought he would be tortured because that was what “they” did in Jamaica. He said he was in the boat only to help bring it to Cayman.

Mr. Barnes also told police that he recruited Mr. Campbell to help bring the boat to Cayman. He apologized for not checking with the man about his documentation.

The magistrate found that the boat had been used to import the ganja, and she ordered it be forfeited to the Crown. The magistrate indicated that, as captain, Mr. Barnes was responsible for the ganja. She also noted his previous ganja-related convictions, sentencing him to nine months of imprisonment for importing ganja and a further six months, consecutive, for human smuggling – bringing Mr. Campbell to Cayman without authorization from immigration authorities. Defense attorney John Meghoo spoke in mitigation for Mr. Campbell, describing him as a naive 27-year-old who had “no educational history whatsoever.” The Crown had accepted Mr. Campbell, who is from Westmoreland, had no previous convictions in Cayman.

His client was impressionable, Mr. Meghoo told the court, and had been promised Ja$200,000, the equivalent of US$12,500, “which he did not receive and never will receive.” He asked for a concurrent sentence on the charge of illegal landing.

The magistrate noted Mr. Campbell’s guilty pleas and sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment for importing ganja and one month concurrent for illegal landing. She said time in custody would be taken into account and deducted from the total to be served.

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