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Man freed of drug charge but remanded for another matter!

- Magistrate says reasonable doubt, ‘questionable points’ in Police statement responsible for verdict
Mitch Christopher, 27, was found not guilty of a cannabis possession charge when he appeared before the Magistrate’s Court on July 12, 2013 but was subsequently remanded to Her Majesty's Prison on a similar but unrelated charge. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Mitch Christopher, 27, was found not guilty of a cannabis possession charge when he appeared before the Magistrate’s Court on July 12, 2013.

The defendant was initially charged for unlawful possession of cannabis.

It was alleged that a stop and search was carried out on February 19, 2010 at approximately 6:55 A.M. in the Crabbe Lot area.

Police officers allegedly observed Christopher and another person (a Mr Williams) sitting and it was further observed by one of the officers that Mr Williams tapped the defendant and alerted him to their (officers) presence.

The defendant was then allegedly observed putting his hands in his pocket and later putting his hands behind the fence.

According to the allegations, upon approach of the police, Christopher stood and a small bag fell. It was reported that the defendant was asked by the officer what he placed behind the fence and he allegedly said that it was a leaf that he picked up.

It was further alleged that the defendant and his friend were the only ones sitting in front of the fence. The two were searched by the officers and it was stated that nothing was found on them. Police allegedly told the men to move from the fence and went behind where the allegedly found what was later determined to be cannabis.

Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards said the defendant during his testimony stated that he pushed his hands in his pocket to fix his money, and told the court that the police did not find anything on him. The Magistrate also said the defendant denied telling the officer that he put a leaf behind the fence and denied that a bag dropped when he stood.

The court also heard testimony from the person the defendant was sitting with at the time of the incident and he told the court that he told the defendant that his money was falling out which is why the defendant pushed his hand in his pocket. The witness further testified that he did not see Christopher with cannabis that morning.

Magistrate Richards said the defence’s case was that the area where the police searched and found cannabis was behind a fence, on a property that did not belong to the defendant. It was also pointed out that when the police arrived in Crabbe Lot that morning everyone fled except for the defendant and his friend.

It was stated that the defendant did not run because he had nothing to hide.

The Crown argued that the defendant’s friend’s testimony was mainly to corroborate the defendant’s story.

In giving her decision, Magistrate Richards said she observed the defendant during his testimony and didn’t find him to be a credible witness and added, “I do not believe that he was being truthful.”

Magistrate Richards also said the witness was good and stood up to the examination in chief but broke down during cross examination. She also said that she found that there were questionable points in the statement given by the Crown’s witness, which was given by one of the Police officers involved in the arrest.

This created enough room for reasonable doubt and it is on this basis that the verdict was delivered as not guilty.

Christopher was represented by attorney at law Marie-Lou Creque while the Crown was represented by Senior Crown Counsel Sarah Benjamin.

The defendant was, however, remanded to prison after the verdict was given as he is also facing another charge of possession of cannabis, which stemmed from an arrest in January, 2012.

7 Responses to “Man freed of drug charge but remanded for another matter!”

  • weed (16/07/2013, 15:28) Like (3) Dislike (21) Reply
    hope this is not a local they harassing
  • Lait 521 (16/07/2013, 15:42) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    JUST ANOTHER WASTE OF THE COURTS TIME....
  • Music (16/07/2013, 18:39) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Another minor case taking THREE AND A HALF YEARS to come to court!!!!
    Shame on our authorities!
  • Hmm (16/07/2013, 20:55) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    How long this young man going be the jail for some weed just taking up space you let him go just to lock him up boy this palce need an intervention in the justice system from police to magistrate need new ppl in the place
  • nightly reader (17/07/2013, 03:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So wa u tink, local ppl not to be harrass? More BVILANDERS use more drugs than foriegners. Selfishness
  • zzzzzzzz (17/07/2013, 08:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This story is totally rubbish!!! the legal system sucks


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