Thursday, 27 November 2008

Timothy Rebello Badal pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking

Timothy Rebello Badal of 193 Middle Road, La Penitence, Georgetown initially pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking when it was read to him by Magistrate Hazel Octive-Hamilton.It is alleged that on November 25 at CJIA, Timehri, Badal had in his possession three kilogrammes of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Oswald Massiah told the court that on the day in question the accused was about to board LIAT flight number 4778 to Barbados.A suitcase, which was checked in earlier by Badal, was scanned and appeared to contain some suspicious objects. As a result the accused was prevented from boarding the aircraft and he identified the suitcase as his.Further, Massiah said, in Badal’s presence a detailed search was carried out by CANU officers on the suitcase and the alleged substance was found concealed. The man was arrested and taken to CANU Headquarters.Massiah informed the court that while in CANU’s custody the accused offered an explanation to the officers. Badal, Massiah said, had stated he was taking the suitcase containing the substance to Barbados. On arrival in Barbados, the accused told CANU, he would have removed his personal belongings from the suitcase and handed it over to a taxi driver who would then have given him US$7,000.In his explanation to the court, Badal said he did not know that the suitcase contained drugs. The accused said he was just transporting the suitcase to Barbados so he would have an opportunity to get a job when he got there.“When I was at the airport,” Badal explained, “I didn’t know it was drugs in the suitcase until a CANU officer took me to the suitcase and asked if it belonged to me. I told them yes.”According to Badal, he had spoken to a friend from Barbados who told him that he would be able to get a job for him there.“He tell me that it gon make things easy for me travelling for the first time. That is why I take the opportunity because I was going there to get a job,” Badal insisted.The man further told the court that on the day in question he put his clothes into a bag and a car picked him up at his home. According to Badal, the man in the car took his clothes from the bag and packed them into the suitcase. He repeated to the magistrate that he didn’t know cocaine was in the suitcase.Magistrate Octive-Hamilton then informed the accused that officials at the airport would always ask whether you had packed your own suitcase. She told the man that there was a reason for that question being asked as it served to remind individuals about the risk they placed themselves in when they did not pack their own luggage.At this point, attorney-at-law Euclin Gomes entered appearance for the accused and informed the court that his “client wished to change his plea to not guilty”.According to Gomes, at the time Badal pleaded guilty he was unrepresented and he did not know the consequences of that plea. Gomes did not make an application for bail.“Justice is all about fairness in this court,” Magistrate Octive-Hamilton stated after granting the attorney’s application for a change of plea.Badal was remanded to prison and he has to appear at the Providence Magistrate’s Court on December 5.



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