NEWSCO: A tourist has been left to find his own way back home after the cruise ship he arrived on left for New York City without him while he was in shackles for drugs.
On the afternoon of January 27, Bernard Benko was observed by police on foot patrol in Heritage Quay acting suspiciously after purchasing a ‘shack shack’ souvenir from a vendor.
He was approached by the cops who told him they suspected that he was in possession of an illegal substance. They then asked to search him and he obliged.
Upon searching his person, the officers found a transparent bag with a white powdery substance in one of his pockets.
When questioned, he admitted that the bag contained cocaine which he bought from someone.
The visitor was then arrested and charged with possession of one gram of cocaine valued at $35.
But while Benko was in a cell at the St John’s Police Station, his wife and kids continued their voyage to New York City on a vessel that left Antigua at 6pm that same day.
The defendant was brought to court yesterday to answer to the charge and the magistrate immediately called the investigator to the stand and scolded him and his superiors for not using his “discretion” or “common sense” to have the man brought to court before the boat left.
Nevertheless, the man was fined $100 and he now has to find a way home.
Attorney Wendel Robinson was asked to assist him with that process.
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the white powdery substance was baking powder. he want to experience the local dumpling, saltfish and chap up with a tall glass a ginger beer
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Seriously judge? Just $100? If it was a local man, how much would you have charged him? Enquiring minds would like to know.
Seek you’ll find
Why should the magistrate be so concerned about the man missing his boat? The man broke the law this magistrate only charged him $100 which is about $35USD….
Insulting to locals who are fined more for a little herb.
That judge is a big joke, if that happened to an Antiguan in another country dem woulda in jail all now.
The same judge go charge a man with likkle weed 5000.00, you shoulda shame fuh call uself one judge!!
I agree with the directive of the Judge and I consider it a step in the right direction. To really make the man miss his boat and to waste the court time for $35.00 worth of cocaine, is a waste of resources. Plus, we have to feed him while he was there.
Note as well, the Judge did not put the officers at fault for the arrest, but the officers kept the man there from 27th to yesterday before bringing him to court and knowing the circumstances that the man was just on a cruise.
It was not right for him to have the substance in his possession but a little discretion would have gone a long way. If, the man had a larger quantity especially with intention to sell, my view would be totally different. At least, the judge made him pay back for most of the free food he got.
Can Police ask to search you. If you were acting suspiciously. What is acting suspiciously? Isn’t that like reading someone’s mind. How could the Cops suspected he had illegal substance on his person. Was the illegal substance sold to him by a Cop in plain clothing? This story made no sense what so ever. There are many things seems to be missing from this story.It does not make one damn sense to me.
I thought the one of the main duty of the police waa upholding the laws of the country without fear or favour. Had it been a foreigner in a developed country would that be the same
Why wasn’t the vendor charged for selling it? The cops had him in custody and never charged him…
I spoke to the tourist personally.
Why would you ask to search a tourist on a Cruise???? Makes no sense…..
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