British Virgin Islands

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Testing Hurdle In $53M Drug Bust

Testing Hurdle In $53M Drug Bust

Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards has called for the matter of having one analyst in the region to carry out tests on narcotics to be addressed.
“We need to diversify we shouldn’t be putting everything, all our apples, in one basket. We have to diversify, but I am powerless,” She said yesterday during the first appearance of Paul Hodge, who is charged with Possession of a Controlled Drug with Intent to Supply and Possession of a Controlled Drug of over 500 kilograms of cocaine.

Hodge entered not guilty pleas to the offences, and this meant that the matter will head to trial.

During the virtual court hearing, Crown Counsel Kael London informed the court that the file was not ready to proceed to trial as the substance needed to be tested.

He said the health pandemic was posing a challenge for the lone analyst in the Caribbean region to travel to conduct the tests.

“So I cannot give the court a definitive date for testing, but what I can do is ask to put this matter for report towards the latter end of April. Hopefully, we can have some more concrete information because all that is outstanding really is the testing of the substance,” he remarked.

He informed that two statements from the Police officers who would be witnesses in the matter were also outstanding.

Hearing this, the magistrate remarked: “This is making 18 years since I am here, and that is the only analyst. Is there a law that there can only be one analyst?”

London replied that the current analyst is a different one from the one being referenced, however, the previous analyst and the current one are from the same jurisdiction - Barbados.

“I’m not sure if there is something unique to Barbados,” London opined.

In response, the magistrate said: “I hope that we will get through with someone pretty soon because these matters can’t just keep waiting for an analyst. I don’t know, I am assuming that there are drug matters in other countries in the Caribbean as well!”
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