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January 30, 2014
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Two-year drug case dismissed
Christopher Thomas, STAR Writer

The Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court on Monday threw out a drug case against a St James distribution driver, as the matter had been before the court for approximately two years without being prosecuted.

Richard Lloyd, from Lilliput, had previously been charged with possession of, dealing in and attempting to export four and a half pounds of ganja, allegedly concealed inside several teacups and in his suitcase. He was freed of the charges by presiding magistrate Carolyn Tai after his scheduled trial failed to begin because of the absence of a police witness.

It was alleged that, on November 16, 2011, at 9:45 a.m., Lloyd was preparing to board a flight to Kingston, in transit to Trinidad, when his suitcase was subjected to a routine search and three teacups found inside.

The officer noticed that one of the teacups was broken and vegetable matter resembling ganja was inside it. A further search of the suitcase revealed a false compartment where more of the drug was found wrapped in four packages. Lloyd was subsequently arrested and charged.

On Monday, clerk of the court Orrett Brown told RM Tai that one of the prosecution's police witnesses had gone on vacation leave and that the ganja exhibit had not been brought from the police station.

"Two of the three Crown witnesses are here, the third witness has proceeded on vacation leave and resumes in May," said Brown. "My understanding is that the exhibit (the ganja) is still at the Freeport Police Station," Brown added.

"What has been the history of this matter?" asked RM Tai.

"This is the fifth trial date it appears that the Crown has not been ready on the trial list," Brown admitted.

Attorney-at-law Martyn Thomas, who represented Lloyd, asked for the charges against his client to be dismissed, as the case had been before the court for more than two years without prosecution.

"He (Lloyd) has been coming here since 2011, and he has been here every time. The matter has been hanging over his head, and he has been embarrassed every time he has come to court," said Thomas.

"The matter will have to be thrown out; he cannot keep coming here for another three years," RM Tai declared, before dismissing the case and allowing Lloyd to leave the courtroom.

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