A confessed drug dealer who admitted to trafficking in more than 67 kilograms of cocaine may not spend a day in prison.
Leonard Bacchus who was arrested three years ago after a police raid netted the $300M worth of narcotics, which was contained in kunds, was handed a five year suspended sentence by Magistrate Alex Moore when the matter came to a close on Tuesday.
Bacchus was also given a slap on the wrist suspended sentence of two years for being in unlawful possession of 125, 12-guade cartridges and 115, .32 rounds of ammunition, which also stemmed from the raid on his block 20 Enmore/Haslington Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara home on August 16, 2001.
In addition to being spared a mandatory prison term, Bacchus was fined a measly $2.5M.
This means that he will only go to jail if he commits another offence within the five year period.
When the prosecution, which was started by Superintendent Karim Baksh and concluded by Inspector Stephen Telford, closed its case, the court found that a case was made out against Bacchus and Magistrate Moore ordered him to lead a defence.
But in a surprise move, Bacchus, who was represented by Attorney at Law James Bond, changed his plea to guilty on both charges.
Magistrate Moore accepted the plea and then informed Bacchus that in addition to possible jail time he was staring at a fine of more than $300M.
But, then to the amazement of most of the persons in the courtroom, the Magistrate handed down the suspended sentence for both of the charges.
He then considered the pleas of Bacchus’ lawyer that he could only afford to pay a fine of $2.5M, which he was given up to the end of June next year to do.
Meanwhile, Bacchus’ wife Indranie was set free by the Magistrate.
His 17- year old son was also acquitted by the Magistrate who said that no evidence was offered against him.
Legal sources have indicated that the law hardly provides for a suspended sentence when a person is found guilty of trafficking in narcotics and possession of ammunition.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has indicated that the Magistrate’s decision would be appealed.
The case of the cocaine in kunds attracted much public interest when it first came to light in 2011.
Back then, the now late attorney Vic Puran, who in representing the Bacchus family had said that Leonard Bacchus had given police a statement saying that he was merely doing a job of sanding and polishing the Kunds, “which were delivered to him by someone else.”
The lawyer had also accused investigators of trying to force Mr. Bacchus into a plea bargain deal and into implicating others in the drug find.
After the bust, the police had questioned a housing scheme developer after allegedly being informed that he was the person shipping the kunds overseas.
Police said that the Bacchus family had been under surveillance for three months prior to the discovery of the cocaine in their home.
The Bacchus family members were remanded to prison when they made their first court appearance on August 23, but were able to secure high court bail to the tune of $1M each on November 23rd.
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