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Court Awaits Privy Council Ruling On Wire Taps

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

TWO men appealing conviction and sentence their involvement in a $6 million drug smuggling operation intended to argue the constitutionality of wire tapped evidence in the Court of Appeal yesterday.

However, the judges informed the attorneys for Stephen ‘Die’ Stubbs and Dion Minnis that the same argument was presently before the London-based Privy Council involving Melvin Maycock concerning the legality of the Listening Devices Act, as the evidence in Maycock’s case was obtained through such means.

Justice Christopher Blackman told Murrio Ducile, Stubbs’ lawyer, that the country’s highest court has reserved it’s decision on that matter expected to be ruled on in the upcoming months.

The judges suggested that if this question was the core of their appeal, it would be best to await that court’s ruling before proceeding on with the other arguments.

While Mr Ducille initially opposed the adjournment, he eventually consented and the matter will now be heard on May 28.

Stubbs and Minnis were convicted of the drug plot in Magistrates Court last year along with 58-year-old Selva Hudson of Sisal Avenue.

They were accused of conspiring with 51-year-old David Arlington Colebrooke between September 5 and 30, 2009, to import and possess dangerous drugs in Williams Town, Exuma, with intent to supply.

Evidence revealed the 3,935 pounds of marijuana came from Jamaica and was dropped off in Williams Town.

Colebrooke was on the run at the time of trial and was still missing when a verdict was handed down to his co-accused.

At the time, the sentencing magistrate told the defendants the punishment was based on three factors: their existing record, the amount of drugs involved, and the men’s participation in the smuggling operation based on the evidence.

She sentenced Stubbs to four years in prison and a $50,000, and an extra year if the fine is not paid by the end of his sentence.

Minnis and Hudson were given five years and three years respectively.

Minnis is represented by attorney Dion Smith.

Ambrose Armbrister appeared for the Crown in yesterday’s proceedings. He was granted leave by the court to file his submissions which were served on the appellants and court the day prior to yesterday’s proceedings.

Justices Blackman, Stanley John and Abdulai Conteh presided over the hearing.

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