Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Canadian sentenced to nine months for cocaine

Published:Saturday | June 4, 2016 | 6:00 AMChristopher Thomas

WESTERN BUREAU:

Joseph Southhall, a Canadian national who was arrested on cocaine trafficking charges at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on May 24, was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment when he appeared in the St James Parish Court yesterday.

Southhall, 53, of an Ontario address in Canada, pleaded guilty to possession of, dealing in, and attempting to export one pound and 1.14 ounces of cocaine. In addition to the nine-month sentence, he was ordered by presiding magistrate Sandria Wong-Small to pay a fine of $300,000 or spend six months in prison on the possession charge, and $350,000 or six months for dealing. He was admonished and discharged for dealing.

PAYING FINES

"If the fines are not paid, the sentences are to run consecutively (one after the other)," Wong-Small instructed in passing down the sentence.

The facts are that, on May 24, Southhall was preparing to board an Air Canada flight to Toronto at the Sangster International Airport when a routine search of his travelling bag revealed a cylindrical container which, when opened, was found to contain a white substance resembling cocaine.

Southhall had previously appeared in court on Wednesday, June 1, and his case was initially set for mention on June 17. However, the matter was pushed up to Friday due to concerns for the defendant's health.

"Based on the concerns of his family members, the Canadian consulate and other persons, and because of his health, the matter was brought forward," attorney Henry McCurdy, who represented Southhall, explained.

Meanwhile, Orville Brown, another Canadian who was also arrested on May 24 for unrelated cocaine offences, was remanded in police custody after his case was mentioned on Friday, due to concerns over the frequency of his travelling between Jamaica and Canada.

"The way he has been travelling to and from Jamaica, in the space of five months, he has made three visits to and from Jamaica already ... checks are to be made and the information to be passed on to counsel," Wong-Small said concerning Brown, as she set his case for June 7.