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Pair Ordered To Get Help For Marijuana Use

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

TWO men were spared custodial sentences by a magistrate yesterday who ordered them to undergo 12 months of counselling and testing for substance abuse.

Leslie Minns, 27, appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes facing a charge of simple possession of dangerous drugs where it is alleged that on June 15, he was found with a quantity of marijuana.

Around 7pm on the day in question, officers from the Tourism Policing Unit were on routine foot patrol on Marlborough Street, when they observed a vehicle driving in a reckless manner. The officers signalled to the vehicle to stop and approached the two male occupants before conducting a search of the vehicle and finding a quantity of marijuana.

Minns pleaded guilty to the offence and his lawyer Thomas Evans, QC, made a mitigation plea on his behalf.

The veteran lawyer said the father of one had made a mistake and was using the marijuana for medicinal purposes because he reportedly suffered from severe headaches.

Mr Evans said his client, who is gainfully employed as a chef, did not waste the court's time and would be jeopardised by a criminal record if the court formally convicted and imposed a prison sentence for two grams of marijuana.

He said Minns was deserving of a second chance to walk on the right path and be a productive citizen.

The deputy chief magistrate said notwithstanding the small amount of marijuana found, the justification for his use paled in comparison to the possible consequences for a conviction.

However, Deputy Chief Magistrate Forbes did not move towards an immediate conviction or a custodial sentence.

Instead, he granted a conditional discharge in which Minns, until June 19, 2018, must undergo counselling and testing for marijuana use.

Failure to comply will result in three months imprisonment at the Department of Correctional Services.

In a separate matter of a similar nature, 26-year-old Kendal Simmons pleaded guilty to simple possession of dangerous drugs where it was alleged that on June 16, he was found with marijuana.

Around 6pm on the day in question, officers from the Tourism Policing Unit were on routine foot patrol on Marlborough Street, when they intercepted a Suzuki vehicle occupied by two men who aroused their suspicion. The officers signalled to the vehicle to stop and approached the two male occupants, conducted a search of the vehicle and found 10 grams of marijuana.

Simmons' lawyer, Nathan Smith, also asked the court not to move towards an immediate conviction or custodial sentence as his client also had no prior run-ins with the law, was gainfully employed and had cooperated with the authorities from the outset.

Simmons, who admitted to using marijuana from the age of 13, was also granted a conditional discharge.

Failure to comply will result in three months imprisonment at the Department of Correctional Services.

Minns and Simmons' respective co-accused, Leando Thompson and Frederick Clarke, both 25-year-old Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers, had the charges withdrawn against them by police prosecutor ASP Clifford Daxon.

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