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UPDATE: Pierre didn’t know how ganja got on boat

- says other men were on vessel; Magistrate rules against no-case submission
Drug accused Vincentian, Glenroy Pierre, told the court he had no knowledge of how 500kg of cannabis appeared on the vessel, Grey Crest, that he and two others were discovered sailing on in 2012. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Drug accused Vincentian, Glenroy Pierre, told the court he had no knowledge of how 500kg of cannabis appeared on the vessel, Grey Crest, that he and two others were discovered sailing on in 2012.

Pierre took the stand to testify in his defence today, March 26, 2014 after Magistrate Dr Velon L. John ruled against a no-case submission put forward by his attorney on March 11, 2014. Magistrate John did not offer any reasons for his ruling at the time.

Pierre, who told the court he was a sailor for over 10 years and had been working on the vessel on and off for approximately a year, said he didn’t know who the cannabis belonged to, and never bothered to investigate its presence on the boat or how it got there.

He denied renting the boat along with the captain, Ralph James from a man named Chris and he was unaware of any scent of cannabis on the boat as officers had testified to earlier.

When asked about the visible presence of crocus bags filled with cannabis on the boat, Pierre replied: “Why would I ask about something that had nothing to do with me?”

He recalled boarding the Crest in Antigua in September 2012 with a crew of three including himself, the captain and a man whose name he could not recall. The vessel moved to St Maarten, Santo Domingo and Jamaica and was destined to return to Antigua for its final stop.

While in Jamaica, he testified, the crew attended a fishing tournament and during this time the vessel’s engine mount developed problems which took several weeks to be resolved. Pierre said he was off the boat for one week during this time.

He recalled being phoned by the captain and returning to the vessel one evening to leave Jamaica and testified to meeting two additional men he was not familiar with when he boarded.

Although the police discovered three occupants on the vessel when it was discovered, Pierre said he could not recall when or how the other two men had left the vessel. He later told the court during cross examination by Principal Crown Counsel Tiffany Scatliffe that the boat had stopped briefly at an islet near Santo Domingo but did not indicate whether they disembarked at this point.

Pierre said the boom of the vessel broke during a freak storm as they were 200 miles away from Antigua and they resorted to the engine which failed. He said the boat ended up drifting for about three days during which the men “tried to fix stuff” and explained that distress signals were sent out on the first night after they became stranded.

The matter will come up again for decision on April 16, 2014.

See previous story posted March 26, 2013:

Magistrate to rule on 'no-case' for high seas drug find

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Magistrate Dr Velon L. John is expected give his ruling today, March 26, 2014 on a no case submission by the defence in the trial of Vincentian accused drug smuggler Glenroy Pierre.

The Crown wrapped up its case on March 11, 2014 in what was one of the largest marijuana finds in the Territory where over 500kg of cannabis had been discovered.

Attorney Patrick Thompson told the court that the centrepiece of the Crown’s case is possession and argued that they had not led any evidence which suggested that the defendant possessed any cannabis.

Pierre pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal entry; supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug; possession of a controlled drug; importation or being concerned in the importation of a controlled drug and unlawful possession of a controlled drug.

He was was allegedly discovered along with Ralph James and Adrian Arthur on a boat containing the illegal drugs that had been stuffed in ‘crocus’ bags in all parts of the boat.

The vessel, which one of the officers giving testimony had described as not being sea worthy, had been drifting in the waters for some days near Anegada on October 25, 2012 after it had broken down. The two other men pleaded guilty to similar charges and were sentenced last year.

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