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Change of heart

Man changes plea to guilty on charges

COURT TODAY BLOCKWhen a St Michael man first appeared before Magistrate Douglas Frederick in March this year, he denied three drug charges.

However, when Stefan Okela Griffith returned to court today, he had a change of heart and pleaded guilty.

The three charges were that he was in possession of nine grams of cocaine, that he intended to supply it and that he trafficked the drug.

Griffith, 34, lives at 2nd Avenue Richmond Gap, St Michael.

In his mitigation, Griffith asked the court to be lenient, noting that he had not been before a court in about eight or ten years and “I just trying to clean up my act.”

Griffith was among a group of men whom police saw at Richmond Gap on March 19 this year. The group was smoking and there was a strong scent of cannabis coming from the area.

As the lawmen approached, Griffith got up and ran off. After he was pursued and caught, a search revealed a cigarette box in a pocket, with a white powdery substance inside.

Griffith insisted today before Magistrate Frederick that he does not use cocaine.

“Do you use cocaine?”

“No Sir. It was a piece that I did find a couple days ago,” Griffith responded.

“So why would you keep it if you don’t use it? It had value to you?”

“No Sir.”

“But if I didn’t use cocaine and I saw a piece, I wouldn’t take it up. I would probably crush it with my foot or something,” Magistrate Frederick said.

When the magistrate referred to Griffith’s conviction record, it revealed that he had already been prosecuted for having apparatus for use in connection with cocaine and possession of the substance.

The magistrate took into consideration that Griffith had similar convictions and that there had been a “long time span” between his last conviction and this one.

He was fined $1 500 payable in one month for possession of the cocaine and was convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the other two charges.  The fine was paid.

“That’s the best I can do for you,” the magistrate told Griffith, “but the best you can do for yourself is to stop using cocaine.”

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