Clement Reid v R

JudgeMorrison JA
Judgment Date27 September 2013
Neutral Citation[2013] JMCA Crim 41
CourtCourt of Appeal (Jamaica)
Date27 September 2013

[2013] JMCA Crim 41




The Hon Mrs Justice Harris JA

The Hon Mr Justice Morrison JA

The Hon Mr Justice Brooks JA


Clement Reid

Debayo Adedipe for the appellant

Mrs Andrea Martin-Swaby and Mrs Tracy Ann Robinson for the Crown

CRIMINAL LAW - Dangerous drugs - Ganja - Possession of - Dealing in ganja - Whether verdict unreaasonable - Whether magistrate erred in her assessment of the evidence

Morrison JA

This is an appeal from a conviction entered and sentences imposed in the Resident Magistrate's Court for the Corporate Area on 21 May 2011 for the offences of possession of ganja and dealing in ganja. The appellant was sentenced to a fine of $3,000. 00 or 30 days' imprisonment for possession of ganja and $6,400. 00 or 30 days' imprisonment, in addition to six months' imprisonment for dealing in ganja. These sentences were ordered to run concurrently, but, in the event that the fines were not paid, consecutive to the term of six months' imprisonment. The appellant appealed against his conviction and sentence and, on 31 July 2013, the court having heard submissions from counsel on 8 May 2013, it was announced that the appeal would be dismissed, and the conviction and sentence affirmed, for reasons to be given at a later date. These are the promised reasons for the court's decision.


At his trial, the appellant did not deny having had ganja in his possession. However, the evidence was that, almost from the very moment when he was found with the substance, he stated that he was acting under duress, a position he maintained throughout and the primary issue raised by this appeal is whether the learned Resident Magistrate erred in rejecting this defence. The appellant also raises three subsidiary issues, viz , whether the conviction for dealing in ganja is sustainable in the light of the evidence in the case; whether the evidence relating to the custody of the substance found in his possession was reliable; and whether the sentence of imprisonment, in addition to the fines imposed, was disproportionate in the circumstances.


The facts of the case are as follows. At the material time, the appellant was a correctional officer stationed at the South Camp Adult Correctional Centre (‘the correctional centre’). At the time of trial, he had been a correctional officer for 23 years. His particular assignment was as a medical orderly, in which capacity he worked alongside or under the instruction of the medical doctors assigned to the facility. The officer in charge of the facility was Superintendent Olga Bailey-Campbell.


On the morning of 24 November 2009, Superintendent Bailey-Campbell observed the appellant on the premises of the correctional centre. He was wearing his regular uniform, but there appeared to be “a bulge in his pants and around his waist”. When she enquired of him “how he looked so bulgy”, the appellant took a black ‘scandal bag’ from his pocket and showed it to her. In the bag were three packs of cigarettes which, the appellant said, he was taking for his orderly. But despite the removal of the bag from his pocket, the superintendent noticed that “there was still a heavy weight around [the appellant's] crotches”, leading her to make a further enquiry of him. The appellant's response was to ask her to come with him to her office. At this point, she invited her second in charge, Superintendent Anthony Stewart, to accompany them. Once in the office, the appellant pushed his hand in his waist, “pulled out a round circular package with brown masking tape” and put it on the desk. When asked what was in the package, the appellant said that “he was under duress somebody from Down Town gave him to take it in” [sic].


Superintendent Bailey-Campbell immediately called the Commissioner of Corrections by telephone and was instructed to notify the Cross Roads Police Station, which she did. As they awaited the arrival of the police, the appellant then proceeded to pull out some other packages, some from “between his crotches” and some from “below his pants foot”. In all, there were a total of five packages, all of the same circular shape, wrapped with brown masking tape, as the one that the appellant had first removed from his waist. In due course, two police officers, Constable Jackson and Sergeant Jones arrived. When asked “if the stuff belonged to him”, the appellant's answered yes. Superintendent Bailey-Campbell then travelled with the appellant and the police officers to the Cross Roads Police Station, where the packages were cut open and seen to contain vegetable matter resembling ganja. The superintendent saw when Constable Jackson put all five packages in an envelope, which she also saw him sign and seal.


Constable Damian Jackson confirmed that, in response to a call while on guard duties at the Cross Roads Police Station on the morning in question, he and Sergeant Jones had gone to the correctional centre, where they met Superintendent Bailey-Campbell and the appellant. After being shown five “oval shaped parcels”, Constable Jackson conducted a search of the appellant's locker, revealing nothing, at which point the group repaired to the Cross Roads Police Station. His account of the events of the morning differed from Superintendent Bailey-Campbell's in one respect, in that while she was insistent that the packages produced by the appellant were only opened after they had arrived at the police station, Constable Jackson was equally emphatic that he had opened one of the packages with a knife at the correctional centre and then opened the others at the police station.


This is Constable Jackson's account of what happened next:

“At the station I opened all five parcels where I showed Mr Reid the contents that came from them. I informed him of the offences of Possession of Ganja, Dealing in Ganja. After that I sealed the packages in a brown envelope that was there I write on it one brown envelope marked ‘A’ containing five oval shaped parcels with vegetable matter resembling Ganja in case Mr Clement Reid for offence of Possession of Ganja and Dealing in Ganja, also my signature. I also sealed it in his presence.

When cautioned he said — Mr Reid said — I was forced to take it. It was given to me by a man down town. They know my family and where my children go to school. I did not have a choice.”


Some two weeks later, the packages were taken to the Government Forensic Laboratory for analysis and, after samples were taken from them, they were resealed, placed in an envelope and delivered to the Cross Roads Police Station. The packages, which were identified by Superintendent Bailey-Campbell as the same packages which the appellant had produced on the morning of 24 November 2009, were tendered in evidence at the trial without objection. So was the Government Analyst's certificate dated 8 December 2009, which confirmed that the vegetable matter which they contained was ganja. In the certificate, the analyst described the packages which she received from Constable Jackson for analysis as follows:

“One sealed envelope marked ‘A’ containing one black plastic bag with five circular parcels numbered ‘1–5’ respectively, ‘1–3’ each made from black plastic material and brown masking tape and ‘4–5’ each made from transparent plastic material and brown masking tape, all containing compressed vegetable matter resembling ganja.”


When he was cross-examined at the trial by the appellant's counsel, Constable Jackson confirmed that, upon being cautioned and charged, the appellant said that (i) “he was given the goods down town by a man…[h]e knows where he lives and where his children go to school and he never had any choice; (ii) he had received telephone calls, from a person he did not know, telling him, that “he was required to take something into correctional institution” [sic]; and (iii) if he did not do so, “they would have his family”.


In his defence, the appellant gave evidence to which it is necessary to refer in some detail. On 24 November 2009, he had been a correctional officer, in the rank of staff officer, for 23 years, during which period he had twice received awards for outstanding service to the department from the Commissioner of Corrections. His evidence was that, a couple weeks before that date, he had received a number of telephone calls from an unidentified caller on his mobile telephone. In the first call, the caller, who told him that he knew him well, directed him to pick up a package that would be given to him at some point and that “everything would be ok” if he followed instructions. After the appellant told him that he would be unable to assist, the caller hung up. After that, the appellant said, he received a number of calls (“about 6–7”) from the same caller. This was his recollection of what happened on the next occasion that he was able to remember:

“The person saying big man what's happening I know you and I know where you live and where your children go to school [sic]. It is a simple thing. It's not anything to kill anybody. I asked the person why me. He said not to worry all I had to do was to work with the situation and everything would be alright.

He said I would have to collect something and somebody would take it from me. When I make enquiry of what the something was I was told not to worry everything would be alright. He said all I had to do was take it to my work area and somebody would take it from me. What was happening [sic]. I had not decided to do what the person was requesting so I did not think it was necessary to tell anybody.”


On another occasion, the caller made reference to the appellant's son, who was then a student at high school and an active participant in his school's athletic programme, particularly on weekends. The caller mentioned some of the appellant's...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT