Thursday 9 July, 2020

Chef held with '5 pounds' of cocaine escapes prison time

Detectives assigned to the Narcotics Police Division arrested and charged a man in relation to the seizure of cocaine that had an estimated street value of $3 million, at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Sunday, March 31.

The man identified as Damian O’Brian Newman, a chef of a Williamsfield, Manchester address, however, managed to escape prison time when he appeared in court as his lawyer explained that he (Newman) 'utilized the right reason to do the wrong thing”.

The prosecution alleged that Newman returned from Trinidad and landed at the airport when officers attached to the Canine Division of the JCF were alerted by their sniffer dogs of the presence of possible narcotics.

A search of the bags which had Newman’s name tag revealed 5 pounds 11 ounces of a white powdery substance which tested positive as cocaine.  

Newman was subsequently charged for the offences of Conspiracy, possession, importing and dealing in cocaine. Attorney-at-law Able-Don Foote who held brief for Don O. Foote, argued that “ Newman utilized the right reason to do the wrong thing”.

Foote asserted that it was out of sheer desperation why Newman acted out of character due to the fact that his mother’s house was on the brink of foreclosure.

He submitted that Newman has led a good life for 43 years and has now learnt a serious lesson and is therefore not likely to re-offend. He also pleaded for mercy having regard to Newman’s health profile and said the overall circumstance does not warrant a sentence of imprisonment. 

The Senior Parish Judge Vaughn Smith indicated that it is customary that a custodial sentence is imposed in order for the court to send a strong message that these offenses are not tolerated. He, however, agreed that this case is distinguishable from others. 

Newman was fined $200,000 or 9 months for possession of cocaine and $200,000 or 9 months for importing cocaine. He was admonished and discharged on dealing in cocaine. The prosecution offered no evidence on the charge of conspiracy.


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