Jamaican pleads guilty to drug charges, fined $15 000
A Jamaican man who denied three drug charges a month ago before Magistrate Douglas Frederick, confessed to them when he returned to court today.
Neil Alexander Churchill Bennett, of Westgate Hill, Montego Bay, St James, Jamaica, had pleaded not guilty to the October 16 offences of having cocaine, trafficking and intent to supply 2.15 kilogrammes of the substance.
The 47-year-old financial consultant went before Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant at the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court today where she fined him $15,000 with a three-year concurrent prison term alternative on each count of possession and trafficking. He was convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the intent to supply charge.
The fines were not paid.
Initially, Sergeant Neville Reid objected to bail on the grounds that Bennett is a non-national who came here on October 8, was staying at a hotel but later had no fixed place of abode. He therefore doubted that his attendance at court could be guaranteed if he were granted bail.
The late Allan Carter, who was at the time representing the accused along with Romain Marshall, said that his client was given a six-month stay in Barbados and asked the court to consider bail if Bennett could produce a suitable surety.
Bennett was represented by attorney-at-law Kristen Turton today. She submitted that her client was a businessman who did not put the court through the cost of a trial but pleaded guilty early. She also said the father of three regretted the position that he found himself in and the position he had put Barbados in.
According to Sergeant Janice Ifill, after police received certain information, they went to the Christ Church hotel where Bennett was staying. A suitcase with a false bottom containing 2.15 kilogrammes of cocaine was found in his room.