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Shortage of ‘drugs’ delays farmer’s trial

Renardis Donovan. File photo

Renardis Donovan. File photo

Award-winning farmer Renardis Donovan, who is charged with cultivation of 226 marijuana plants, was this week turned away from the Magistrate’s Court pending a report to verify if the plants are in fact marijuana.

The trial was scheduled to start this week, but Donovan was told to return next April when the report is expected to be ready.

The adjournment did not sit well with his attorney Jamal Smith, who argued that his client has been attending court for months and – on each appearance – the prosecution was unprepared.

“I have to express strong objection to yet another adjournment awaiting the analyst’s report,” Smith declared.

He noted that his client attended court in February, May, July, September, and December of this year only to be met with the same explanation from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The prosecution however explained to the court that the situation is out of its hands.

The court was told that the British Virgin Islands utilizes the service of a drug analyst, who is only called into the Territory when there is a specific amount of drugs available for testing.

The prosecution further explained that the plants Donovan is accused of cultivating are in the current batch of substances that has not yet reached the stipulated quota for analysis.

While noting the prosecution’s explanation, Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo said justice must be balanced with the ‘exigencies’ of the territory.

“We cannot have a defendant waiting forever, but I do believe that there will not be any prejudices to this defendant (Donovan) if there is another adjournment to get a report from the analyst,” she further said.
Donovan was told to return to court on April 24.

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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5 Comments

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  1. L says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

    I never hear more foolishness.

  2. Wendy says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

    Unjust willful and deliberate harassment.

    What if a quota is never reached .Why not have a trial pending the outcome of the identification since said identification is simply a formality?

    No one including the accused has denied the obvious.

  3. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    Pure unadulterated nonsense! Does speedy trial exist in the BVI judicial system.

    Is the slow as molasses resolution of cases double jeopardy for defendants? Complainants may also suffer doubly for the delay.

    A new year is quickly approaching and a new commitment is needed for the speedy disposition of cases before the courts. Justice delayed is almost justice denied.

  4. Lodger says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    How ridiculous! Court and justice systems are a travesty?

  5. Grumpy says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Hey, paying a lawyer to go to court a few times and eventually to get the case dropped for “lack of prosecution”, is a lot less punishment than being found guilty of this offense!! Somebody want him free!!!

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