Sykes warns ganja smoking in Supreme Court cells must stop

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 03, 2019

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CHIEF Justice Bryan Sykes yesterday warned police officers at the Supreme Court that if they do not put a stop to prisoners smoking marijuana in the holding area, he will have them removed and take the necessary actions himself.

“It really needs to stop,” the judge said during the Uchence Wilson Gang trial in the Home Circuit Court, after the stench of marijuana surfaced again inside the court following the lunch break.

A similar distinct ganja smell had permeated the courtroom after lunch the previous day.

“So now, let me put the police on notice. If the police fail to maintain order in preventing the smoking of ganja down there, it is not going to be a pleasant outcome; that, you have my solemn word on.

“So whatever the police need to do, get it done. This everyday smoking of ganja has to stop today. So this is supposed to be the last day I am coming into court and the passages, the courtroom are filled with ganja,” the chief justice warned.

He emphasised that no smoking of ganja, tobacco or cigarettes should take place in the cells or on the compound, as they are no-smoking areas.

Furthermore, he said not everyone in the cell smokes, and fumes from the smoke may affect them as well as the other attendees at the court, including workers, witnesses and lawyers.

“What if somebody gets severely ill because of breathing in the smoke?” he asked, while noting that the police need to do whatever is necessary, within the law, to solve the problem.

“And, it is not [only] today, it is almost every Friday, one of the largest ganja-smoking sessions down in the cells,” Justice Sykes added.

A cop, who spoke to the Observer on condition of anonymity yesterday, said that while the prisoners are not allowed to smoke in the cells, they sometimes do as the Supreme Court does not have enough police officers to constantly man the cells.

Additionally, it is understood that the prisoners bring the marijuana with them from prison when they arrive at court in the mornings, the cop said.


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