BVI News

3yo drug matter dismissed after deficiencies with evidence

Renardis Donovan

A three-year-old drug-related matter against a Carrot Bay man was thrown out of the Magistrate’s Court on Friday after several ‘deficiencies’ relating to the handling of evidence and general procedure was raised.

Prior to Friday’s dismissal, Renardis Donovan, a farmer, was charged with cultivation of cannabis. He was accused of cultivating the illicit plant on October 16, 2015.

The farmer’s trial was nearing completion when his attorney, Jamal Smith, raised several objections which were upheld by Magistrate Shawn Innocent.


The court heard that the search warrant that was effected on Donovan was done in a wrong name and on a property that did not belong to him.

The second issue laid was with the photographs that were allegedly taken at the cannabis farm in question. The defence argued that photos did not include any police officers nor the defendant. This, the attorney argued, means the photos could have been taken anywhere and not necessarily on Donovan’s farm.

The third issue of contention the defence attorney raised was with the procedure of getting the drugs tested by and analysed. Smith argued that there was no proper ‘chain of custody’ documented in relation to who handled the cannabis plants after they were seized and sent for analysis. The analysis report only contained a lab number and the defendant’s name, the court heard.

There was no paper trail detailing who had the cannabis plants and when. Smith, therefore, argued that this left too many unanswered questions which, he said, might prejudice his client.

The defence then pointed to the testimony of the investigating officer of the case. That officer had told the court that samples of the suspected cannabis were no longer accessible because the police evidence room where the plants were being stored was covered in mould.

Considering all the inconsistencies that develop between now and 2015 when Donovan was first charged, the Crown was forced to withdraw the matter against the accused man.

“The police needs to step up their game,” Magistrate Innocent said.

What the Crown alleged

The court heard that about 5:30 am on the day in question, officers of the RVIPF conducted a search of Donovan’s farm in Carrot Bay, Tortola.

It was alleged that the area was cultivated with fruit trees and vegetables. It is further alleged that some 226 cannabis plants were allegedly discovered between those crops.

The plants were photographed, bagged and taken into evidence while Donovan was arrested and charged.

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  1. For real says:

    Let my people gooooooooooo

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  2. Say so says:

    Yea cuzo..good ppl..God don’t sleep!! For real!!!

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
  3. Hmm says:

    Innocent dropping cases left right and centre. Those that he doesn’t drop people getting slap on the wrist. This magistrate seem to like criminals.

    Like 1
    Dislike 6
  4. What says:

    I have never seen the Prosecution office or the police force which are the evidence givers in such a shambles. Cant believe what I am reading.

  5. dude says:

    Now leave him alone. He wasn’t guilty and the gov wants to give white ppl the ganja business in our islands. Horrendous leadership by NDP gov.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  6. Anonymous says:

    Good will always over come the bad…herbs is good…

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  7. Long live the Rasta says:

    Good will always over come the bad…herbs is good…

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  8. Anonymous says:

    The day that business is overtly monopolised controlled and owned solely by white people, even though they are doing so clandestinely with that and cocaine, in our territory, that is the day revolution will come!!

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  9. In Reference to Article: Just? Scatliffe gets below minimum penalty for gun crime. says:

    @ Anonymous: “A true third world toilet bowl ruled by primitive Africans masquerading as civilized people.”. ..Those are your words and views of a nation, government and people..What a vile and hate filled person you are!

    What you have written and BVINews has published is a clear an evident attack and irreverence on a people, government and nation.You should be dealt with accordingly!

    1.Only a maggot producing fly that cannot live or survive in his own feces bowl would abode in a third world toilet bowl.

    2.Only a maggot that’s living well within his environment will spew such hate, malice, venom and ignorance at its inhabitants.

    3.It is only an abject uncivilized and primitive mind masquerading as a civil one will such filth originate.
    A very uncivilized and son of a barbarian and authentic human hater you have demonstrated to be.

    A poor excuse of a human being would be too good a characterization to assign to you.
    Lastly, we know who we are. And, we know that your characterizations of us are false and mere hatreds.

    With regards to corruption, it is a way of life in the UK and across the globe. Why, because your civilized folk created and taught it to the world. Do read your history fella, mam.

    And, if it does exist here, it is nowhere on the level here that it is in the UK. So why would we need more corrupts from UK to come here? It will only get worst.

    But not only that, this “true third world toilet bowl ruled by primitive Africans masquerading as civilized people” will only be subjected to human atrocities such as confiscation of our lands and monetary resources, which you are advocating for, the re-installation of apartheid, and racism of the most barbaric kind. .

    If you want to live, not see, how uncivilized we truly are, try bringing back those 14th, 15th, 16th, 17, 18 and 19th century human thought processes and practices.

  10. Good show says:

    This is good news! Great job Mr. Smith, because of your diligence many more can fight the injustice plaguing or court system.

    Future cases involving these issues will also be thrown out. Celebration is in order.

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