An East End man allegedly held with nearly $10,000 in forged banknotes more than a year ago was only brought before the court for the first time yesterday, January 10.
Charged with possession of forged currency notes is Jerrel Penn, an unemployed grass cutter.
He was not required to plead as the matter is indictable, meaning triable before a judge and jury. He was granted $100,000 signed bail when he appeared before Magistrate Shawn Innocent on Thursday.
As part of his bail conditions, he is to surrender his passport and report to the East End Police Station between 6 am and 6 pm on Mondays. He was also ordered to remain in the British Virgin Islands and not travel without expressed permission from the court.
Prosecutors allege that on December 3 2017, Penn was driving a heavily-tinted vehicle along the East End public road when police signalled to him to stop.
The court heard that Penn reportedly tried to ‘harshly’ reverse the vehicle in an attempt to abscond. However, his vehicle crashed into a utility pole, the court heard.
It is alleged that police had to physically break one of the windows to remove him from the vehicle. A search of his vehicle uncovered $9,850 cash while another $853 was found on his person, the court heard.
He was subsequently arrested and charged for a traffic violation after the tint on his vehicle was reportedly found to be below the legally acceptable level.
In the meantime, the banknotes were confiscated and sent to the Financial Unit for testing.
The findings revealed that the $853 were genuine but the $9,850 comprising mostly large bills were said to be counterfeit. It is also alleged that the respective monetary denominations bore the same serial numbers.
Penn allegedly accepted ownership of the fake monies. At the time, he was granted $10,000 police bail and was never brought to court before Thursday, January 10, 2019.
Upon realizing the seriousness of the indictable offence, Magistrate Innocent appeared to be upset at police for granting the accused man bail at the time.
“The police are too fast and indiscreet,” Magistrate Innocent said.
He also outlined the possible repercussions of the police’s actions, stating that Penn could have fled the territory before appearing before the court.
“It could have taken two years to find him,” the no-nonsense magistrate said.
Meanwhile, the accused man’s matter was adjourned to February 27. He was not represented.