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Help me!

drug accused makes appeal to Magistrate

courtA stirring appeal for help for a drug problem yesterday resulted in a 33 year old St Michael man being transferred from HMP Dodds to the Psychiatric Hospital where he will undergo assessment for the next three weeks.

Appearing before the District “A” Magistrates’ Court, Peter Anthony Barnes, of Reed Street, the City, who was on remand on three theft-related charges, changed his original plea from “not guilty” to “guilty”.

According to the facts, as outlined to the court, the offences were committed back in October 2015 and in February and May of this year.

Barnes, a tiler, was arrested after he was caught in the act on closed-circuit television (CCTV). He is also facing a rape charge, but was granted bail by the High Court.

Today, after admitting he was struggling with a drug problem, Barnes succeeded in convincing Magistrate Douglas Frederick to send him to the Psychiatric Hospital for professional help instead of back to HMP Dodds.

“I only do those things because of drugs – cocaine and rum,” he said. “They are my greatest downfall. But I really, really, need help, Sir.

“The only reason I do those things is to support the habit. It really beating me, Sir, and I can’t get it beat. I need some help, please,” Barnes pleaded.

Frederick countered by saying that the prison had such programmes where inmates could get the necessary help. Barnes argued, however, that they were not adequate.

“I have to look at the protection of the society while you do such a treatment, given that your background shows what you get into when you use,” Frederick said.

However, Barnes was ready with a strong response.

“I understand, Sir . . . but I really do not want to walk away. Just put me on something strict, Sir, that I can’t get out of. If I walk out, bring down the full hammer, Sir,” he pleaded.

Frederick then said: “I will send you to the Mental so the professionals there can process you, to see if you are a prime candidate, for one of the programmes and to see if you are faking or if you are genuine.

“I don’t want to stop a man that wants help from getting help. Maybe you have gotten to the point where you can’t take it anymore and really want to change,” the magistrate added.

Barnes was remanded to the Black Rock health care institution for assessment until June 30, 2016.

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