Submitted by Caswell Franklyn
It was reported in the Nation of January 27, 2012 that in the process of handing down sentence on Keith Allen, the LIAT pilot who was caught with drugs, the magistrate said that she had taken into consideration his early guilty plea, his age, that he cooperated with police and appeared genuinely remorseful, and that his character witnesses – two clergymen – had testified that his actions were out of character. The magistrate is reported as going on to say, “Fortunately for the accused, the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors”.
I have never heard such a lame excuse for slapping a major criminal on the wrist. Make no mistake about it a fine of $250,000 might seem large to the average man, but he is not an average man: he is a drug trafficker with access to large sums of money. $ ¼ million is chump change for a drug trafficker. Didn’t the magistrate get it? This man is a drug trafficker of the worst kind.
What are these mitigating factors? He was in a position of trust. He was a pilot, and they usually walk through Customs without being searched which gave him the golden opportunity to be a drug smuggler. He brought in a significant quantity of drugs that he would have sold to make profits from destroying young minds. Those destroyed young people end up being a burden on the state and are frequently before the courts for committing crime to feed their drug habit. He was contributing to the destruction of this society and the magistrate called it mitigating.
Nothing that the magistrate is reported to have said can convince me that this drug pusher should not have been sentenced to a long term of imprisonment. She appears to be out of touch. In this country, the courts frequently lock up the end used, but when there is an opportunity to send a message to the suppliers, the court lets down the country by making excuses for not imposing a custodial sentence. I don’t know what, but something must be done to let judicial officers know that the public is not happy when something like this happens. It is about time that someone looks into the mortar and see what is there besides the pestle.