A Vincentian man has been fined $25,000 for cannabis found on a yacht which he and his St. Lucian girlfriend was on at the time.
Twenty-five-year-old Keon Kimran Phillips of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and 22-year- Skylar Phillip of Ciceron, Castries were jointly charged for possession of controlled drugs and possession of controlled drugs with the intent to supply.
The couple was on a yacht named Helleuja docked at the Marigot Bay marina on February 4, 2014 when a coast guard officer became suspicious of them, and conducted a search of the vessel in their presence.
The officer found a black bag in the kitchen area of the yacht and two additional plastic bags, containing a green plant like material in the front and back cabins of the vessel. All the contents weighing 17.94 pounds were later confirmed as cannabis, and the couple was charged the following day.
Skylar, in her defence, told the court that she got a call to meet her boyfriend at the marina. She said that it was not long after joining him the coast guard came and conducted a search on the vessel.
During the time of the arrest, Phillips however, maintained his rights to remain silent. On February 5, 2014 in the presence of the magistrate and a Justice of Peace, he provided a statement to the police. Later on February 13, Phillips pleaded guilty to the charges, while Skylar pleaded not guilty.
Phillips had told the probation officer who was assigned to that case that he took the blame for something he knew nothing of. The magistrate on that note entered a not guilty plea for the defendant.
A confused Phillips returned to court on May 6, 2014 maintaining his guilty plea. The Vincentian was therefore advised to seek the opinion of an attorney. After doing so, he reappeared at court on May 15 represented by Attorney Alberton Richelieu, and changed his plea to not guilty and was remanded for sentencing.
During sentence on May 16, Phillips was fined $5,000 for possession or in default he will spend six months behind bars. For possession with the intent to supply, he was fined $20,000 to be paid in 30 days or spend 12 months in jail.
His girlfriend however who was granted bail in the sum of $10,000 for possession of the drugs and $15,000 for intent to supply had the charges later dismissed against. Among the factors the magistrate took into consideration was that her boyfriend took responsibility for the drugs and she was pregnant.