Bermuda – Man convicted over drugs

Bermuda FlagA Devonshire man who claimed no knowledge of 110g of cannabis discovered in his kitchen freezer has been found not guilty of possessing the drugs.

However the defendant, Richard Matthie, was convicted of having another 55g of the controlled substance, found stashed in a sneaker, with intent to supply. He was also convicted of possessing drugs in a chair.

The court had heard that on May 27, 2013, Police discovered several stashes of cannabis during a search of Matthie’s apartment. A small tupperware container holding 7.85g of the drug was found in a chair pocket in his living room, while a sneaker containing 55.32g of cannabis was found in a closet and a plastic bag containing 110.79g of the drug was discovered in his freezer.

The search also uncovered a scale in the kitchen, which government analysts later found to contain trace quantities of cannabis residue.

Matthie was originally charged with possessing drug equipment and a single count of possessing cannabis with intent to supply, but as the trial concluded yesterday the Crown sought to break apart the drug possession charge into three separate charges, representing the three locations where drugs were found.

While the defendant admitted that the drugs in the chair belonged to him and that he had put some cannabis in the sneaker, he denied that the shoe contained 55g of the drug.

He also maintained that he knew nothing about the drugs in the freezer.

The court heard that Matthie had spent some time living abroad and had returned to the Island 11 days before the Police search. Matthie testified that while he had used the refrigerator in the days after his return, he had no reason to go into the freezer.

He also said that others had access to his apartment both while he was away and since he returned to the Island.

Regarding the scale, Matthie said he had used it to weigh fish and had no idea how cannabis residue could have got on it.

While prosecutor Victoria Greening suggested that Matthie was distancing himself from the drugs in the freezer because he knew it would mean a conviction for possession with intent to supply rather than simple possession, defence lawyer Jaymo Durham argued that there was no evidence before the court that Matthie knew about the drugs in the freezer.

He noted that Matthie was not the only one with access to the freezer, and even if the defendant had looked there the drugs would not have been immediately noticeable because they were inside a grey bag.

Mr Durham also told the court that only objects used directly to take a controlled drug are classified as “drug equipment”, and the scale did not fit that description.

Delivering his judgment, Magistrate Archibald Warner convicted Matthie of possessing the drugs found in the chair, noting the defendant’s own admissions that it was for his personal use.

He also convicted Matthie of possessing the cannabis found in the sneaker with intent to supply, telling the court: “There is nothing in the defence that would cause me to doubt the accuracy or reliability of the amount of the drug that was found, weighed and reported on in the analysts report.”

However Mr Warner found Matthie not guilty of possessing both drug equipment and the cannabis discovered in the freezer, stating that the Crown failed to prove the defendant knew, suspected or had reason to suspect that the drugs were there.

Mr Warner adjourned the matter for sentencing at a later date, ordering that pre-sentencing reports be carried out on the defendant.