Former immigration staffers Stephen Wayne Hurlston and Oscar Lee Watler had their appeal of a conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to supply dismissed in Grand Court Wednesday.

Justice Roger Chapple found that Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn’s verdict was “entirely permissible and justified”, but he allowed more time to consider an appeal of the sentence of 12.5 years.

Hurlston and Watler were arrested in October 2015 after 1.6 pounds of cocaine was found in a yellow package underneath their car, which was parked in a secluded lot near Patrick’s Island. Both men were found standing nearby.

Several items – a scale, plastic bags and a razor – were found at the scene of the crime. The scale was found in Watler’s pocket.

No DNA was found on an analysis of the drug package, and nothing was found in a search of the suspects’ homes.

Defence counsel Norman Hill appealed on the grounds that the findings of fact were prematurely found by the magistrate, and he alleged that it was an unreasonable verdict in light of the evidence.

Justice Chapple said it was “abundantly clear” that Magistrate Gunn had followed legal precedent in reaching her decision, and he said there was no way for a police officer to prohibit a suspect from making a spontaneous admission of guilt midway through cautioning them.

The verdict was reached, said Justice Chapple, after a careful and detailed analysis of evidence.

Watler’s appeal of his sentence stemmed from concerns about his health due to his status as a recipient of a kidney transplant. Justice Chapple said the Crown will investigate with Northward whether conditions are a threat to the inmate’s health before deciding the appeal of sentence.

The parties will be due back in court on 19 July.

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