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Exclusive: HMP inmate cries of injustice in court system

- Elroy G. Okeiffe says five-year term for drugs too harsh
Elroy G. Okeiffe pleaded guilty in 2012 to charges of possession of an illegal drug and possession of an illegal drug with intent to supply. Photo: Team of Reporters
Elroy G. Okeiffe, 28, said he had been self-employed and without any prior convictions up to the time of his arrest on April 18, 2012 when 1.5kg of cocaine was discovered at his home in Johnson's Ghut. Photo: VINO/File
Elroy G. Okeiffe, 28, said he had been self-employed and without any prior convictions up to the time of his arrest on April 18, 2012 when 1.5kg of cocaine was discovered at his home in Johnson's Ghut. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – One inmate at Her Majesty’s Prison at Balsam Ghut is asking the question “where is the justice in the Virgin Islands?” after being incarcerated for the past two years on drug charges.

Elroy G. Okeiffe, 28, said he had been self-employed and without any prior convictions up to the time of his arrest on April 18, 2012 when 1.5kg of cocaine was discovered at his home in Johnson's Ghut.

The inmate, a Virgin Islander, said despite his pleas for leniency before the Magistrate’s court and his early guilty plea he was handed a sentence that he felt was unjust.

Okeiffe pleaded guilty in 2012 to charges of possession of an illegal drug and possession of an illegal drug with intent to supply. Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards at the time handed down a sentence of five years’ imprisonment for the supply charge and two years in prison for the possession charge which are to be served concurrently.

He complained that his sentence was handed down in the absence of his attorney at the time, Mr Richard Rowe and felt this affected his sentence negatively.

According to the inmate, the sentence was too harsh and this caused him to try to have it reduced before the Court of Appeal. He complained that at his first appearance in May 2013, he was told that his transcript was not yet available and this prevented his matter from being heard before the appeal judges.

His matter was then adjourned to September 2013 but according to Okeiffe, his transcript remained unavailable to the Court of Appeal because of the alleged absence of one signature.

Okeiffe said another year is quickly approaching and he is still unsure whether his matter will be heard before the Appeals Court and he is questioning whether justice is being delayed because his surname might not be indigenous to the Virgin Islands.

He is now asking that his matter be fast tracked so that his appeal can be heard at the end of April 2014.

Okeiffe has also made reference to other sentences passed in the lower court for similar charges and said there was a clear disparity given the quantities and sentencing in those matters.

55 Responses to “Exclusive: HMP inmate cries of injustice in court system”

  • Responder (08/04/2014, 08:59) Like (12) Dislike (7) Reply
    The justice system is indeed archaic here in the BVI and certain Magistrates seem to feel they are above the law, or lawmakers themselves. Who locks up the Magistrates? Where is the accountability on their part? This young man deserves the right to a speedy seat before the Appeal Court. At least to be heard.
    • ReX FeRal (08/04/2014, 11:18) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Wrong cannot be right based on who you like nor can right be wrong based on whop you sleep with. Say no to drugs
      • Shabaka (08/04/2014, 17:00) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
        Say no to drugs? You mean the pharmaceutical ones with a side effect list as long as mandingo's ..........
      • Juan (09/04/2014, 16:20) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        Hey, I too am self employed with no convictions, but if they catch me with drugs, I too will be joining you..get it? I am born and raised here and do not take my freedom for granted.
  • Online Now (08/04/2014, 09:05) Like (30) Dislike (11) Reply
    Five years for drug dealing of that quantity is very lenient. He should be quiet and serve his time before people remind him of the countless lives the drug he was selling has ruined.
  • Powerplay (08/04/2014, 09:09) Like (11) Dislike (6) Reply
    I know of a young lady in the bvi getting sentence to 4yrs for possession to import 7 kilo of cocaine an a guy that was sentence to 2yrs for possession of 4 kilo of cocaine. I think the justice system is railroading him.
  • free (08/04/2014, 09:23) Like (3) Dislike (14) Reply
    free the man
  • usual suspect (08/04/2014, 09:27) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply
    The Bvi don't care about the Ppl unless u have a big name or strong connections in the community and that will cause plenty problems the world is a cycle
  • wisdom (08/04/2014, 09:34) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    Isn't 5 years a total of 3 yrs prison term? he could be out later this year on early release if not, next year. Why waste that money going to appeal. Brother, you can be out real soon....dont waste your money....i guess people will say its not me in Balo, so its easy for me to say...but I'm just saying.
    • not so (08/04/2014, 10:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The system changed....It doesnt operate like that any more. 5 years = 5years
  • True (08/04/2014, 09:36) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
    So you had 1.5kg of Cocaine, you admitted to being about to supply this illegal drug on the streets of the BVI. You were about to make an awful lot of money illegally is that what you meant by being self employed>? 5 years if you do the crime you must do the time now suck it up and stop whining like a little girl because you got caught!
  • Lawyer (08/04/2014, 09:38) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    Mister, please serve your time with good grace. You was found with 1.5 kilo of cocaine was given five years and you complaining of harshness. Listen the maximum sentence is 10 years, $100,000 dollars or three times the value of the drugs and your sentence should not be less than 3 years. Count your blessings my boy
    • squash (08/04/2014, 17:19) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
      The man have a right to appeal that's wa he focus on but u bz hating let the supreme courts give him 10 years hater
  • SMH (08/04/2014, 09:46) Like (2) Dislike (7) Reply
    That dude ain't no drug dealer the positions are the biggest drug dealer but wa they are part of the destruction team so nobody notice the plays free up the youth let he better his self the man done do time
  • SIS (08/04/2014, 09:53) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
    Yo. I think the system is fowl. The whole BVI government is for who them for. Don't worry bro keep yuh head up. Only the strong survive!
  • shantel (08/04/2014, 09:54) Like (3) Dislike (12) Reply
    Jerry have kids even step kids to look out for free up the man so he could take up his responsibility when u look he ends back up in the system for child support cause HMP has ntt in place for father's to make contributions smh he really right were is the justice. Tortola just raising more and more criminals with all the injustice it sharing out
    • Flower (08/04/2014, 19:00) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      He should have thought about that before he did the drugs. Do u know how many lids lives he destroy? This is the point, he has kids too, see how it feels if someone push drugs on his kids. When the shoe on the other foot it hurts
    • baby mama (08/04/2014, 20:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Lol last time i check he wasnt married, n its child not children n no step kids,,
    • PAM (08/04/2014, 21:19) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      So was he thinking of his children when he took the chance of doing what he did? No..you cannot use children in this situation for scapegoats. He was not worries about them that much afraid of what might happen if he got caught. He did the crime now must do the time.
  • seleena (08/04/2014, 10:11) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    He get 7 years to do 5 for one key so wa they gone do Jim john who plead guilty for a 114 keys this is serious free up the man. Swear he was a repeat offender
  • Ummm (08/04/2014, 10:24) Like (3) Dislike (10) Reply
    To me from a distance that judge look like she have a problem especially as it relates to Men...
  • Voters (08/04/2014, 10:25) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    I blame the ndp
  • Lawyer (08/04/2014, 11:10) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Crime don't pay! Is your greed that got you there. You do the crime, then do the time. The justice system is not design to help poor people. If you were paying, you would have plea not guilty, your lawyer would have been present at your trial, you would have received bail, and the case would have been thrown out.
  • gee (08/04/2014, 11:15) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    seriously? what role did the justice system play in him having cocaine in his possession? 1.5 kg is not likely to be for personal consumption. cocaine wrecks peoples' lives. not sure where the injustice is in this case. the justice system may be plawed but i have a hard time seeing that in this specific instance.

    do the crime, do the time whatever that may be. did he say anywhere in there that he was sorry for dealing in cocaine? nah ... just bawling about wanting to get out and this or that is unfair! if he saw this coming would you have gotten involved in drugs?
    • @gee (08/04/2014, 14:45) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Thank you! He is only seeing me, me, me.

      Truly, what about those youngsters (no doubt) whose futures he has ruined? What about the suffering the family of those persons (youngsters, no doubt) endure, seeing their sacrifices and hard toil to raise their children in many cases come to nought?

      He should be made to look at Drugs Inc. to see the great societal harm he has contributed to in his 'business' as a pedlar.
  • blue skys (08/04/2014, 11:51) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    Well your name is your identity so if you don't have a well known name in the bvi you're nobody
  • spider (08/04/2014, 12:06) Like (10) Dislike (5) Reply
    Strupes. Man up and do your time p***y
    • p-value (08/04/2014, 20:54) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply

      Lol punks like u wouldnt even meet da man in the sreet n call him a p...y, lol stay hiding behind ur monitor buddy...

  • ROOM 316 (08/04/2014, 12:20) Like (2) Dislike (8) Reply
    5 YRS FOR HIS FIRST OFFENCE IS HIGHLY UNJUST WITH OUT THE COMPASSION THAT HE ALSO PLEA GUILTY ON HIS FIRST COURT HEARING THE JUDGE WAS RATHER HARSH, BUT AS OKIEFFE SAID HIS SURNAME IS NOT INDIGENOUS TO THE BVI. JUSTICE SYSTEM TO SLOW, KEEP PRAYING AND BY FAITH YOUR APPEAL WILL GET HEAR FOR THIS SITTING AND YOU SHALL BE FREE.
    • Online Now (09/04/2014, 09:20) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      First offence he was prosecuted for. Who's to say how many he has got away with. He was self employed? Doing what? Selling drugs?
  • Blak (08/04/2014, 12:37) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    My boy I hear you but lets speak on some facts....you got off easy son peep game. In the U.S. you get caught with a "WHOLE FOWL" ...a kilo for the ebonically challenged with a clean record you looking at about 7 years. I know this cause that's how the drug laws are set up to destroy you for the simplest thing. Plus it happened to one of my peeps. Your 5 years is a GOOD DEAL son. Don't act the fool and you out in 2 1/2.
  • mother hen (08/04/2014, 13:36) Like (2) Dislike (6) Reply
    There are many more stories like this the BVI is rotten
  • RUE (08/04/2014, 14:43) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    The BVI did not tell you to deal coke.
    Crying to get out to start again.
    Do you know how many lives you F... up.
    Dealing in coke should be an automatic 10 years.
  • 316 d day will come (08/04/2014, 15:40) Like (3) Dislike (9) Reply
    So funny how most yall clowns can like every comment that is negative about this dude and most yall dont know him, then dislike everything positive about him said by someone who does, HATERS,
  • west (08/04/2014, 15:50) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    Jerry is a good youth he does not deserve this
    • wow (08/04/2014, 18:32) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
      So it is right for him to be found with 1.5 kilo of cocaine. No one found with cocaine is good they have evil intentions
    • BOO HOO (09/04/2014, 16:17) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      If he such a GOOD man, why he selling drugs?...Oh, my bad..he's a GOOD crying low life man who doesn't want to pay for his crime. Boo Hoo to him. Drugs destroying our families so he an get more time off the streets and then out of here.
  • billyb (08/04/2014, 17:48) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Since when a 28 year old hard back man "A Youth"?? Strupppes
    You took a chance, you got caught, shut up and do the time.
    I'm sick of people complaining about prison life
    I am on the outside, hearing the complains of those on the inside; that is enough incentive to stay on the straight and narrow, abide by the laws and keep my A$$ out of prison
    Don't be doing what you want and when you get caught you acting like Peewy Herman
  • Bvi wrong!! (08/04/2014, 18:08) Like (2) Dislike (6) Reply
    Hmm. Well Tortola people have so much to say. But I guess it's because the person is not a relative nor friend. You people are so harsh against your own sometimes! Hmm. "Leh the man go"!! Meh boy god before anything. Don't mind what nobody has to say. One day god will prove them wrong! Just saying that it was cruel for his first offense and he pleaded guilty. He was being honest! But guess honesty doesn't mean anything. As they said ur title says it all!! Love u bro! Soon out!
  • Outspoken (08/04/2014, 18:30) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
    This place they call Natures Little Secret have in some real lawless and ignorant people. Are we for real with some of these comments. This man was found with cocaine(a killer, a destroyer) and here it is persons on here saying degrading things about the magistrate and the system. Some even suggesting to free the man, some talking about he have kids and step kids and who was found with this and that and got lighter sentence. Having drugs in ones possession especially cocaine is against the law people and we should have zero tolerance for it but it seems like some of us see it as nothing and a way to make some fast cash. Think about the youths of this nation and so many of them who have fallen by the way side because of this killer drug. Let the law take it's course
    • billy jean (08/04/2014, 20:50) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
      To outspoken drug dealers neva for users into using drugs, u sound so stupid, the bvi sytem is the pitts, waste ur time sitting down writing a whole bunch of bs n im sure u or someone in ur family use or sells drugs , cant belive dis place full of smutty n dumb ppl like u
      • Outspoken (09/04/2014, 06:58) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        To billy jean Well if you look at you post and read it over and over you will see how sickening and foolish you are for your info I do not have drug dealers or users in my family it is lame on your part to support lawlessness as this maybe he was doing it for you I sure understand how you feel and I surely know that u are very hurt by my comments I love it. Oh take it to The Lord in prayer
        • billy jean (10/04/2014, 12:41) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
          To outspoken , oh yes i will take it to the lord in prayer , pray for smutty ppl like u who love to talk,
  • Ville (08/04/2014, 19:15) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    To be honest I feel its unjust due to the fact that the youth man from west got hold with 3 after and got a waayy lesser bail application than jerry who only had 1.5 with that being his first offence to begin with. It shows you the inconsistencies in the court system in the BVI. Keep ya head up Jerry God don't sleep!
  • past (08/04/2014, 20:44) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    U ppl love to talk sah, did he hold a gun to anyone head to use drugs, thats all u tortola ppl good for sit down n talk what u feel u kno, the man deserves his right to appeal, he do the crime he did his time, "who feels it knows it" its so amazing of the negative comments being posted on this lol n im sure yall aint doin no better bt like the old ppl them does say time longer than twine....
  • Lawyer (09/04/2014, 07:06) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Oh what a hopeless generation. What is so wrong with what outspoken said. I read his post and he is so right but yet billy jean and past thinks he chatting nonsense and I can't believe you billy jean when you said drug dealers are never for users into using drugs are you for real well you are real ignorant
  • + (09/04/2014, 07:33) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    While I have a strong urge to believe that the administrative processes he is speaking about could be improved and in ways perpetuate injustice; I have a problem with persons that break the law (any law) and EXPECT the leniency of the court. Laws are to be obeyed. The judicial system exists to punish law breakers and encourage pride in oneself and ones country. Instead of appealing, take some time to reflect on how the decisions you made have impacted your life.
  • friend (09/04/2014, 09:22) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    I think that it don’t make sense to have person up in prison for drugs hit the a fine a fine that will hurt them the police them need to do their work it have more and bigger stuff them need to be trying to solve than sending people up there for small shit. I think it’s also about who you are, your last name and who u know in Tortola money talk if u aint have money u shit. people all need to be treated the same no matter who your parents, last name or who u are or know u is every one need to be treated the same. Some of them same cops doing there dirt and its ok for them cause them wear the clothes them is the law come on wrong is wrong. This young man might be hated by many but he is also love by many too. I think this young man need to be set free give him a fine make him look work every one make mistake everyone always have something to say about people but when its hit one of their family member they want we as the public to feel for them right? Mr. Offeiffe i wish you all the best and I hope u get the justice u deserve and just know that there is still people out here in the wicked work still love u .
  • AC 360 (09/04/2014, 16:07) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Jerry we with you all the way!
  • zoe (09/04/2014, 18:27) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is yet another example of the disregard for law and order in the BVI started from the white house down BAM
  • deport (10/04/2014, 08:59) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Put he on liat and send he to antigua
    • deport (10/04/2014, 12:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Lol deport you sound so stupid how are you going to deport a born an raised tortolian, looks like you the one that needs the deporting, stupidness
  • Jerrisha (10/04/2014, 12:21) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Don't mind the noise jay, we behind u 100% an we think u deserve the right to be appealed, don't mind the noise a bunch of haters, hated by many love by plenty confronted by none stay strong, like past say who feels it knows it, these people on this news site is ridiculous talking a bunch of crap, I cant believe people waste their time sitting down an write a bunch of crap, I cant believe tortola have ridiculous people like this.


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