Defence attorney Stephen Daniels has urged the court to consider during sentencing, the fact that the matters against his client Cayma Nibbs have been dragged through the court for years.
“I think the defendant has duly paid the price for coming to court for three years,” reasoned Daniels who was offering mitigation for Nibbs, a 34-year-old British Virgin Islands belonger.
In responding to Daniels, Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards noted that a lengthy trial is not a factor a judge would use to soften whatever sentence he/she imposes on a defendant.
Nibbs was convicted this month of illegal entry and failing to declare $31,980 cash to BVI Customs.
It was said in court that the maximum penalty for illegal entry is a one year imprisonment or a $1,000 fine. As for the Customs-related offence, the magistrate can impose a fine of up to $10,000 OR three times the value of the amount that the person failed to declare.
“The court, under its residual discretion, can go below that threshold,” Daniels told the senior magistrate as he lobbied for leniency on his client’s behalf.
Senior Magistrate Richards will sentence Nibbs this Friday, June 2.
The prosecution’s case
The prosecution reports that police officers were in the Frenchman’s Cay area of Tortola doing undercover surveillance on Nibbs around 10pm on July 23, 2014.
Nibbs was seen boarding an inflatable dinghy, after he arrived at the area on a scooter.
Police claimed that they observed as he sailed the dinghy in the direction of Soper’s Hole, and then proceeding westerly towards St Thomas, USVI.
He returned to the area hours later, boarded the aforementioned scooter, and drove away.
The cops intercepted Nibbs and asked if he had anything to declare, but Nibbs reportedly said no.
It is further reported that the officers searched a backpack the offender was carrying, and a quantity of US currency was found.
When police asked Nibbs how much money was in the bag, he reportedly told them about $42,000.
Asked where he was coming from, Nibbs said he was on a sailing trip to St Thomas, but changed his mind and returned to the Frenchman’s Cay area.
He further told the cops that the money he had was to be used to purchase four scooters.
Nibbs was taken to the police station and later charged for failing to declare funds amounting to $32,980. The money was retained by the police under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
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