A British Virgin Islands man said he reversed his uninsured and unlicensed vehicle for an extended distance during police road chase because he had marijuana in his possession.
When the accused, 34-year-old Shannon John, appeared before Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin on Tuesday afternoon, he pleaded guilty to Possession of a Controlled Drug, Travelling Backwards with Motor Vehicle More Than the Requisite, Failing to Stop at the Sound of a Siren, Driving an Unlicensed Vehicle and Driving an Uninsured Vehicle.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to Reckless and Negligent Act and was subsequently granted $20,000 signed bail.
He must surrender his travel documents as part of his bail conditions.
What the court heard happened
The court heard that on May 9, members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), as well as Customs and Immigration, were conducting mobile patrol duties near Fine Foods Supermarket on the eastern end of Tortola when they observed a motorcar travelling easterly without a license sticker affixed to the windshield.
The court heard that the law enforcement officers turned on their siren and lights, indicating to the driver of the vehicle to stop. However, the driver put the car in reverse in an attempt to flee.
A chase commenced between the law enforcers and the vehicle which travelled through Fat Hogs Bay and unto Little Dix Hill Road. The chase ended next to the Francis Lettsome Primary School, the court heard.
Man had cannabis in his possession
Law enforcers then proceeded to conduct a search of John and his vehicle and found 30 grams of cannabis, which has a street value of $300.
He and another man who was travelling as a passenger in John’s vehicle were subsequently arrested.
The unnamed passenger reportedly told police in an audiovisual interview that he was “just catching a ride” with John and was unaware that drugs were in the car.
During a similar interview, John said the drug and vehicle belonged to him. He also admitted to trying to evade police because he was carrying ‘weed’.
John is unrepresented is scheduled to reappear before the court on July 8.
It is not clear whether the charges against the passenger was dropped.
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