Vincentian asks Court to reduce Sentence for cannabis offences
A Vincentian who was on a boat which brought over 700 pounds of cannabis into Barbados in 2006, has gone to the Court of Appeal seeking a reduced prison sentence.
Munroe Fitzpatrick Haywood, 33, from Chateaubelair, St Vincent, had pleaded guilty to charges of possession, trafficking and importing 370.01 kilogrammes of cannabis and was sentenced by Justice Maureen Crane-Scott to six years for possession, six years for importing, and eight years for trafficking.
Evidence presented during the trial revealed that police, acting on a tip-off, went to a beach at Six Men’s, St Peter where they saw several persons in the sea and on the beach.
A white pirogue was slowly approaching the shore and there were people on board throwing packages into the sea while other persons were retrieving and bringing them ashore.
As the police approached, there was an exchange of gunfire.
Haywood was later found hiding under a nearby house.
Representing him before the Appeal Court yesterday, attorney-at-law Kristen Turton argued that sentencing her client on each of the three counts was contrary to the rule that a person should not be punished more than once for the same offence.
She submitted that since the three offences came out of the same facts and from the same circumstances, they were in essence one count and that the court should not have sentenced Haywood for possession and trafficking, having already sentenced him for importation.
Turton also argued that the sentence was excessive and that the judge had taken irrelevant information into account in determining the sentence.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock, in association with Principal Crown Counsels Anthony Blackman and Lancelot Applewaite, responded for the Crown.
Leacock contended that there were three distinct offences and that what was being punished was the conduct.
The DPP stated that the Drug Abuse, Prevention and Control Act made provision for separate offences and, therefore, one could not say the three amounted to one and the same offence.
Leacock pointed out that Haywood was charged under three different sections of the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.
Justices of Appeal Sherman Moore, Sandra Mason and Andrew Burgess heard the matter and reserved their decision.