Thursday 22 August, 2019

Lawyer argues on captain behalf in $500,000 drug case

After three men were charged with having over $500,000 worth of drugs on board a company yatch, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) dropped charges against one last week.

Yesterday, the lawyer, who represents another of those accused, made his position clear. That position is that the "only reason" his client was charged is because he was "the designated captain on that voyage".

This is the argument of Andrew Pilgrim on behalf of Goddards Enterprises Limited (GEL) director Christopher Rogers.

Rogers, GEL employee Walter Prescod and GEL former chairman Charles Herbert were charged with four offences: possession, possession with intent to supply, trafficking and importation of 267 pounds of cannabis (estimated worth of $534,160).

The drugs were allegedly found on board the company's vessel Ectasy in June 2018.

Just last month, the DPP dropped charges against Herbert due to a lack of evidence. It was said that "a thorough review of the evidence of the file does not reach the evidential standard to justify proceeding with the case against Charles Herbert. no further action should be taken against Herbert".

However, the DPP suggested that there was enough evidence against Rogers and Prescod to proceed.

In the case of Rogers, it was said that evidence "establishes his movement between the months of May and July 2018 and as the captain of the vessel with overall responsibility for comprehensive, physical custody or control of the yacht; its cargo was vested in him".

Magistrate Douglas Frederick, who presides in the No.1 District "A" Magistrates' Court, is tasked with deciding whether he will follow such advice.

Yesterday, it was revealed that written submissions on behalf of Rogers were given to Assistant Superintendent Trevor Blackman on Friday. Blackman said given the date he received the submissions, he would need until the end of July to reply - a request granted by the Magistrate.

The Assistant Superintendant also said an official record of Prescod's antecedents would be presented to the court for clarity. 

Pilgrim sought to verify, with the prosecution, whether they possessed video evidence which shows "placement of certain things on the boat when Rogers was in Barbados", but Blackman said he could not speak to such.

Written submissions are expected to be completed by Blackman on July 30 and the matter will resume on September 5.

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