Canadian drug user cops $2,500 fine

Canadian sailor, William Earnest Rockliffe, has been hit with a $2,500 fine by the Supreme Court and has two weeks to pay up or get thrown in jail.

The Canadian, who had been charged with one possession of marijuana, one charge of importation of prohibited imports and one charge of possession of utensils, appeared before Justice, Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke.

Defence counsel Lefau Harry Schuster made an application for his client to be discharged without conviction, but the Court refused to entertain the application. 

According to the police summary of facts, the defendant arrived at the Matautu Wharf on the yacht “Optimist of London.” 

However, on August 10, 2018 the Police received information from the Transnational Crimes Unit, in relation to the yacht and suspicions of carrying prohibited substances.

The police did a search of the yacht and found the following: one marijuana bud weighing 0.8 grams inside the fridge, one marijuana “hash” weighing 1. inside the fridge, three halves of marijuana cigarettes weighing 0.3 grams, and one small plastic bag with a small amount of MDMA (ecstasy) inside the fridge and one hookah steel pipe, one glass pipe water pipe, one silver spoon and small plastic bag – all for the purpose of committing an offense against the Narcotics Act 1967.

According to Justice Leiataualesa, the defendant’s guilty plea to the charge number S1389/18 – which is importation of prohibited imports – shows the defendant importing prohibited items

The defendant stated in his affidavit that he uses marijuana recreationally, to ease his body aches and pains, as he does labour work which Justice Leiataualesa indicated he had no medical certificate to prove this.

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He also took into consideration the fact that the defendant imported prohibited substances as an aggravating factor.

“One of them included MDMA (ecstasy), albeit it in small and or residual quantity which is a class B narcotic classified as a narcotic posing a high risk of harm under the Narcotics Act 1967.

“You were also in possession of not one but four utensils for the purpose of committing a crime against the Narcotics Act.

“The charges to which you have pleaded guilty are serious and it is important that this Court does not condone your actions.

“To do so would be to encourage others to follow the path that you have taken and it would place the community at risk.

“It is no secret to any seasoned world traveller that to carry drugs in any quantity small or large across an international border carries with it very serious risks.”

Justice Leiataualesa also told the defendant that he knew the risks he was taking when he travelled to Samoa with the drugs on board of his vessel and his possession of the utensils.

He went on to say that a noncustodial sentence is appropriate for this crime.

“However, it will serve as a deterrence to you and others from committing this offending bearing in mind also your early guilty plea and the mitigating factors.

“Rockliffe, you are accordingly convicted and sentence as follows, on the charge of importation of prohibited imports bearing in mind the imprisonment and maximum fine, you are convicted and fine to $2,500 to be paid within 14 days in default three months imprisonment, and on the charges of possession of marijuana and possession of utensils, time remanded in custody.

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