DPP reviews drug charges against five Jamaicans

Published: Saturday | October 20, 2012 Comments 0

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has begun a review of the case involving five Jamaican men who are facing drug charges after nearly 7,000 pounds of ganja were allegedly found onboard their boat off the coast of the United States (US) last week.

The review comes after the men's attorney, Zavia Mayne, complained yesterday that the decision of the Jamaican authorities to file criminal charges against them raises "a jurisdiction issue".

The five men - Joslyn Foster, Leaford Kidd, Radcliff Simmons, Herman Goldson and Taluka Lyttle - were allegedly among seven men held with 6,900 pounds of ganja onboard the Jamaica-registered boat Captain Richard.

"We (Jamaica) have no jurisdiction to try them because they were not held here," Mayne told The Gleaner, after the men were each granted bail in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate Court yesterday.

Llewellyn declined to discuss the details of the case, but confirmed that the review began this week after the narcotics police consulted her office.

"It (the review) will include a thorough review of the file as we do with all other cases," Llewellyn said.

She said a crown counsel from her office has been assigned to the case and "will appear in the matter when it comes back before the court". The case will again be mentioned next Wednesday.

The five men are facing charges of possession of, dealing in, trafficking and conspiracy to export ganja.

DRIFTED OUT TO SEA

Prosecutors, in outlining the case in court, said the Captain Richard was intercepted by the US Coast Guard after it developed mechanical problems and drifted out of Jamaican waters on October 10.

US Coast Guard personnel, who reportedly boarded the vessel, alleged that the ganja was found in a secret compartment.

But responding to the allegations, Mayne denied that his clients were part of any drug conspiracy.

He said the men were led to believe that they were taking the boat to Guyana for repairs and return to Jamaica with 60,000 pounds of fish.

According to prosecutors, the other two men - a Guyanese and a Trinidadian - are being held by US authorities and are facing criminal charges there.

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