Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo has ordered that the sum of $3,800 that was found aboard a fisherman’s vessel along with drugs last year be forfeited to the Crown.
The cash belonged to St Thomas man, Gerard Hilaire, when he was caught inside the British Virgin Islands waters last September.
Along with the cash, police found 29 grams of cannabis in his possession.
On Tuesday, Hilaire was expected to be present at the Magistrate’s Court in John’s Hole. However, he did not appear.
His attorney Nick Saunders told the court that he did not know the whereabouts of his client and begged the court to adjourn the matter for one more day.
However, Magistrate DaBreo said the matter was more than five months ago, and Hilaire was supposed to be cross-examined by the Crown on Tuesday.
“I don’t believe in wasting the court’s time,” she stated. “I am going to forfeit the money to the Crown.”
After pleading guilty to the offences of illegal entry, possession of a controlled drug and importation of a controlled drug on a previous occasion, Hilaire was fined a combined total of $2,500.
The sum of $1,500 was for both drug-related offences and for illegally entering the BVI. Hilaire spent a total of 30 days in prison.
He was also fined $1,000 for the said offence.
What the court heard happened
The court heard that on September 6, members of the Police Marine Unit were on sea patrol when they noticed a white vessel.
The boat was kept under surveillance and later signalled to stop. A subsequent search of the vessel uncovered the drugs and approximately $3,800 cash.
Hilaire, the offender, told authorities that the drugs were for his personal use.
When probed about his illegal entry, Hilaire reportedly said he had recently purchased the vessel and was testing it. He claimed he had no intention of going on land.
He was later arrested and charged.
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