Prison officer granted bail on ganja in jail charge
An officer who is attached to the New Amsterdam Prison has been granted bail for allegedly having marijuana in the prison.
Magistrate Alex Moore initially refused bail and remanded to Prison Officer to the said prison.
Joananne Erskine King, 38, of Fort Ordinance, East Canje, Berbice, is accused of having 298 grams of marijuana in the New Amsterdam prison for the purpose of trafficking on Sunday, October 23.
Attorney Tonya Clements, in a bail application, told the court that Erskine dealt with prisoners at the institution and as such placing her there could create problems.
However, Magistrate Moore ruled that other officers have been sent to prison before. He explained that the prison has special arrangements for such persons and ruled that it was not a special circumstance where bail should be granted.
Police Prosecutor Inspector Godfrey Playter when asked when the Police will be ready to commence the trial, said the officer who is responsible for testing the substance which King allegedly had, is currently on leave and will not be back to work until December. Seizing the opportunity, Clements argued that the court should grant bail on the grounds that the Police are not ready to proceed with the trial.
Magistrate Moore ruled that the grounds on which the defence argued were sufficient to grant bail and set bail at $200,000. When asked to reduce it, the Magistrate said $199,000. The defence then suggested $150,000 which the court accepted.
King will return to court on December 15, for a Police progress report.
As she left the court, the mother of two was shielded with an umbrella from some sections of the media and taken to a car. Meanwhile, it was reported that on Sunday, the officer was taken into custody after she was allegedly found with a quantity of cannabis within the walls of the New Amsterdam Prison.
She had reportedly asked an inmate of the prison to take a bag into the prison and give it to another inmate. When the prisoner inquired, he was told that it was medication for another inmate. However, when the prisoner got to a second gate, he was asked to give the bag to have it checked.
It was reported that King who was in close proximity, moved up and attempted to take the bag. There was a tussle for possession of the bag causing a senior officer to investigate.
The office requested possession of the bag and upon checking its contents, a quantity of suspected marijuana was discovered.
Meanwhile, on August 28 last, the same female officer was fingered in another drug bust at that prison.
On that occasion, a convicted inmate was found with seven grams of marijuana and had implicated King.
The illegal drug was found when a convicted inmate, Ayube Rangasammy, was seen acing in a suspicious manner. A search conducted on a bag he was carrying revealed what appeared to be marijuana. The inmate told investigators that King took the drug into the prison and placed it in a bucket by a sink for him to uplift. Rangasammy subsequently pleaded guilty to trafficking in narcotics within the prison and was sentenced while the Director of Public Prosecutions had advised that no charges be brought against King since the Police had failed to produce any concrete evidence that she had knowledge of the bag and its consents.