Freed murder accused pleads guilty to having ganja

CURTIS Forde spent 14 years in jail on a murder charge, for which, he was freed by a High Court judge on February 18. On Wednesday he appeared before San Fernando magistrate Nicholas Ali charged with having three grammes of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and pleaded guilty.

Police arrested the 35-year-old part-time welder at Paradise Street which is within 500 metres of the St Joseph Convent in San Fernando on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Sgt Denzil Alexander told the court that PC George and other police were on foot patrol at about 5.40 pm on Tuesday when they stopped a car in which Forde was the front seat passenger. The police saw Forde, also called Kwasi Forde, hiding something. Police searched him and found the marijuana in his right shoe.

Attorney Michelle Ali, who represented Forde, said her client was remorseful and pleaded guilty at first instance, so he did not waste the court's time.

Addressing the magistrate himself, Forde said he was returning home and admitted he "does take a pull" meaning he smokes marijuana. Before he reprimanded and discharged Forde, the magistrate told him marijuana is still illegal.

In February, Justice Gillian Lucky found Forde not guilty of murdering Gerard Bocas in this country's first judge-alone trial. Bocas was liming at Cover Girl's Restaurant and Bar at Carib Street, San Fernando, on October 10, 2005, when four men entered and announced a hold-up in which Bocas was fatally shot. Forde opted to be tried by a judge on February 6, just five days after the law came into effect.


"Freed murder accused pleads guilty to having ganja"

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