Appeal Court turns down 21 jailed for small weed

Justice of Appeal Vasheist Kokaram. -
Justice of Appeal Vasheist Kokaram. -

Applications by 21 men who are serving time in prison for possession of varying amounts of marijuana have unsuccessfully tried to appeal their sentences.

The group, represented by attorney Yves Jacques Nicholson, sought to have the court grant an extension of time for them to appeal.

The hearing of their application took place at the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain on Monday by Justice of Appeal Vasheist Kokaram sitting in chambers.

The judge denied the application on the grounds that the men had the alternative remedy to have their records expunged by the Commissioner of Police and go before the Mercy Committee as part of the policies articulated when the Government decriminalised small amounts of marijuana.

At the hearing, Nicholson argued that the procedures, infrastructure and resources have not yet been implemented by the police for records to be expunged and for an application to go before the Mercy Committee.

The recommendation for the filing of an appeal to reverse convictions was given in December when the State filed an application to facilitate the process of granting pardons to those who would benefit from the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Those with convictions for small amounts of marijuana were advised to appeal their convictions or seek extensions of time to do so.

At the hearing in December, before Justice Norton Jack, it was revealed that some 699 people can have their charges dismissed and their records expunged.


"Appeal Court turns down 21 jailed for small weed"

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