By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A POLICE prosecutor yesterday withdrew a drug charge against a woman whose husband previously begged and pleaded with the deputy chief magistrate to have her acquitted of the crime.
Assistant Superintendent Clifford Daxon withdrew the single count of possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply against Nickya Demeritte, thus discharging her from custody.
The withdrawal was made pursuant to section 230 2(b)2 of the Criminal Procedure Code, ASP Daxon said.
Demeritte had spent the weekend on remand at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDCS) after pleading not guilty to being found in possession of $20,000 worth of marijuana with intent to supply at her residence on March 15.
Prior to her being remanded, Demeritte’s husband of less than 90 days, 46-year-old Shorn Munroe, plead guilty to the charge and beseeched Deputy Chief Magistrate Subusola Swain to let his wife go free as he wanted to take “full responsibility” for the crime.
Munroe, a contractor, expressed how sorry he was for his actions, but maintained his willingness to shoulder the weight of the punishment by himself, and that he did not want his wife to lose her government job as a result of his actions.
Their attorney, Bernard Ferguson, also tried to get ASP Daxon to withdraw the charge against the 36-year-old newly-wed.
However, Dep. Chief Magistrate Swain informed Munroe, and consequently his wife, that only the prosecution could withdraw the charges against either of them. And when the requests were directed at ASP Daxon, the senior officer ultimately said he would need more time to come to a more informed decision, thus resulting in her weekend stay at the BDCS.
The two were arraigned in connection with the recovery of 20 pounds of marijuana from their residence on Venice Bay Boulevard off Bacardi Road last week.
According to a summary of the facts, sometime around 6:30am on the day in question, a team of officers, acting on intelligence and armed with a search warrant, proceeded to a green trimmed white two-storey complex located off Venice Bay Boulevard.
Upon arrival officers secured the perimeter of the complex and knocked on door #1. They verbally identified themselves as police officers. At that time, officers heard a shuffling sound coming from inside the complex. Then, officers situated at the rear of the building, saw Munroe looking out of a door on the rear balcony.
Officers used flashlights and observed Munroe open the balcony door and throw a dark coloured travel bag over the fence into a bushy area. Shorn subsequently came to the front door and opened it.
After officers presented the search warrant to both Shorn and his wife, and identified themselves, a search was conducted of the residence. Officers subsequently found a brown, homemade cigarette which was found to contain a quantity of suspected marijuana. Both Shorn and Demeritte were arrested and cautioned in connection with that find.
Oiffcers then conducted a search of a bathroom and found in plain view on the countertop a clear Ziploc package with a quantity of suspected marijuana. The two were further cautioned on that find.
Officers then took both defendants to the bushy area at the rear of the residence where they had seen Munroe throw the travel bag and conducted a search of that area. The officers consequently found a blue Travel Star bag with a baggage claim tag from Copa Airlines with the name Shorn Munroe on it.
It was examined and found to contain one tan-taped package and a white garbage bag with 22 clear vacuum sealed packages with suspected marijuana inside. The couple was further cautioned in connection with that third find.
While under caution, however, Munroe said: “Man officer, you all done got me. Please don’t lock my wife up she ain’t had nothing to do with this. I won’t waste you all time. I will plead guilty for this marijuana.”
Both Munroe and Demeritte were taken to the Carmichael Road Police Station and booked in. Then, while at the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU), Munroe admitted all knowledge, custody and control of the drugs in question. His wife, however, denied ownership.
Officers also recorded a statement under caution from Munroe where he admitted to being in possession of the drugs.
On Friday, Mr Ferguson said in his plea in mitigation that his client did not waste the court’s time by pleading guilty to possessing the drugs in question, which Mr Ferguson submitted was borne out of Munroe’s addiction to marijuana.
Mr Ferguson further submitted that if the court considered being lenient, his client would be prepared to kick his habit for good. Thus, he asked that the deputy chief magistrate not impose a custodial sentence, but a fine instead.
When questioned by Dep Chief Magistrate Swain if he had any children, Munroe said he has eight children by five mothers, some of whom are in the United States. He also said he is a contractor by profession, while his wife works at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
Munroe then insisted that he does not sell drugs, and has no need to as he owns a “flourishing business”, and that he works and supports his wife and all of his children. However, he admitted that he does have a smoking problem.
He claimed he was commissioned to hold the bag of drugs by a guy for a period of time, after which he said he was to receive two pounds of the marijuana for his personal consumption. According to him, the bag wasn’t even in his possession for 24 good hours.
However, Shorn was ultimately given what the deputy chief magistrate said is a very lenient sentence: one year in prison and a $15,000 fine. Should he default on the payment, he will serve an additional year in prison.