Magistrate gives drug trafficker fine instead of time

courtA Christ Church man got an “early Christmas gift” of sorts when he was spared jail time and was instead slapped with a $15,000 fine for drug offences.

Appearing before Acting Magistrate Alliston Seale today, Jonathan Omar Thompson of #1 Zircon Road, Sayers Court admitted to possession, possession with intent to supply, trafficking and cultivation of cannabis.

He committed the offences on August 1, 2014.

According to the facts presented by police prosecutor Station Sergeant Rudolph Burnett, police found 51 plants in Thompson’s enclosed yard when they executed a search warrant at his home.

The illicit drugs were planted in pots, buckets and a black plastic bag, and ranged in height from five inches to three feet.

The drugs weighed five pounds and had an estimated street value of $10,000.

Thompson’s attorney Naomi Lynton, in her mitigation, urged the court to be lenient on her client by imposing a fine and not a custodial sentence.

She said Thompson was a 32-year-old father of six who was remorseful for his actions.

However, making reference to Thompson’s previous conviction, Seale pointed out that he had moved from “simple possession to growing”.

“He is a farmer,” the magistrate said.

However, Thompson told Seale: “I was misled by friends.”

“You have got to be bigger than that, because only you are going to be sitting in prison,” the magistrate responded.

On the trafficking charge, Thompson has six months to pay $10,000 or he will spend 18 months behind bars.

He has three months to pay $5,000 on the cultivating charge, or an alternative of one year imprisonment.

Thompson was convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the charges of possession and possession with intent to supply.

“Sir, do not come back. And call this your early Christmas prize,” Magistrate Seale warned.

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