Ruffi-Ann says guilty plea would have set Buju free
Veteran dancehall artiste Ruffi-Ann, who was recently released from the Metropolitan Detention Centre in New York, believes Buju Banton would have been a free man today had he pleaded guilty to his crime.
Ruffi-Ann, who was apprehended by New York police after marijuana was found in the vehicle that she was travelling, said she is innocent of the charges. However, she was advised to plead guilty by her lawyer.
"I was booked to perform at an event in Brooklyn and the promoter sent someone to pick me up at the airport. The person ran a stoplight and police pulled the vehicle over did a search and found marijuana. I was detained along with the other persons. I got a lawyer and explained what had happened and he said 'ok, I can get out in a few months," Ruffi-Ann said.
They will punish
"I took his advice and plead guilty and I was released. So if Buju Banton had plead guilty he would have been free by now. But once you go up against the law and try to make them look like a fool they will punish you the hardest way. If you are in possession of the illegal substance, how can you say you are innocent?," she said.
Banton is currently being held at McRae Correctional Facility in Georgia where he is serving a 10-year sentence on drug related charges. Among the charges was conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute cocaine.
Attorney-at-law Tamara Malcolm told THE STAR that Ruffi-Ann's and Buju's cases are not similar.
"She was in a car and drugs was found. But Buju Banton was on video tasting the drug, so there was no pleading guilty in his case. They are both different scenarios, as well as any judge would have also taken Buju's status as an artiste into consideration, but this is just my opinion," she said.