By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A CANADIAN pilot whispered “I love you guys” to relatives seated in the Magistrate’s Court moments after he pleaded guilty to his involvement yesterday in a $1m drug plot that was foiled at the country’s main point of entry.
While Crown prosecutors withdrew four of the 12 charges he initially faced when arraigned in April before Magistrate Andrew Forbes, 23-year-old Michael Webster, of Quebec, Canada, pleaded guilty to the remaining eight drug related charges concerning the seizures of 149 pounds of marijuana, 17.4 pounds of ecstasy pills and 2.6 pounds of Hashish oil.
He initially faced three counts each of possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply, conspiracy to possess dangerous drugs with intent to supply, conspiracy to import dangerous drugs and importation of dangerous drugs. However, one of each count was withdrawn concerning the Hashish oil.
His sentencing will take place on June 28.
Darryl Bartlett, the 37-year-old son of a senior official in the Attorney General’s Office, and 48-year-old former policeman Murrilo Sullivan are expected to stand trial on that date as well.
In yesterday’s expected commencement of trial, the three, who all pleaded not guilty to the charges when arraigned on April 11, appeared in court with their lawyers. Michael Kemp represents Webster and Murrio Ducille represents the Bahamian pilots.
Garvin Gaskins, deputy director of public prosecutions, informed the court that the Crown was ready to proceed with the case.
Mr Ducille, however, said that he had just received new documents from Crown counsel that he needed time to digest in order to be adequately prepared to represent his clients. He also noted that the Crown was aware of his presence in a trial in the Supreme Court.
Magistrate Forbes acknowledged that the higher court took precedence over the Magistrate’s Court, but asked counsel to consider that two of the defendants were in custody without liberty and to note the difficulty of obtaining a stenographer to be present.
Mr Kemp, Webster’s lawyer, addressed the court afterwards and noted that his client wished to take a certain course of action and asked that he be re-arraigned.
Webster pleaded guilty to eight charges while the Crown made an application for the remaining four to be withdrawn, which the court obliged.
The court said it would convict Webster, but would adjourn sentencing to the date proposed for the commencement of the trial.
When Webster was allowed a seat while his counsel and the court considered a date for his case to be heard, he turned to two women supporters in the last row of the court room and said: “I love you guys.”
He faces up to seven years in prison.