General — 05 December 2014 — by Rowland A. Parks
Possession of 118 grams of cannabis results in $1,500 fine for amputee

BELIZE CITY–An amputee who shredded the prosecution’s drug trafficking charge against him (by proving through a cross-examination of witnesses against him that he did not sell cannabis, but merely used it) was sentenced to a fine of $1,500, yesterday morning, Tuesday, when he appeared before Magistrate Herbert Panton, who had found him not guilty of drug trafficking, but guilty of possession of a controlled drug — 118 grams of cannabis that police found at his home.

On September 3, 2013, the police’s Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), while on an anti-drug operation in the Conch Shell Bay area, searched the home of Alton White, 50, and his common-law wife, Idolly Frazer, 36, and found 118 grams of cannabis in two separate locations.

The couple was charged for possession of a controlled drug and “possession with intent to supply to another” – drug trafficking, but last Tuesday, November 25, Frazer was cleared of the two charges, while Magistrate Panton found White not guilty of drug trafficking, but guilty of possession.

In his emphatic mitigation plea, White begged the court to impose a suspended sentence, or to sentence him to do community service.

White told the court that he drives a rented taxi for which he pays a daily rental fee of $50. He also explained that he has a family to support.

And to make his point, he told the court, “Even though the weed is illegal, on cold days like today, I find myself with the same problem.”

The amputee, who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, asked the Magistrate, “If there is some way that you can have mercy on me!”

“No community service. No suspended sentence,” Panton replied to White.

“Given the circumstances, I found you not guilty of trafficking, but found you guilty of possession. It is a sizable quantity,” Panton told White before he imposed the $1,500 fine.

White asked the court for time to pay, and Panton gave him up to June 30, 2015, saying, “That is as generous as I could be, Mr. White.”

“If by that date you haven’t paid, you will have to serve three years in prison, the penalty for drug trafficking,” the Magistrate said to White, adding, “it is still breaking the law and that has to be paramount in my mind.”

“$1,500 in six months is as reasonable as I can be,” Panton told White.

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