Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
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Former prison officer fined after drug smuggling charge

A former corrections officer who admitted to having nearly two pounds of marijuana to smuggle to an inmate was yesterday spared an outright prison sentence and ordered to pay a $7,000 fine.

Vernard Hinsey, 39, of Pineyard Road, pleaded guilty to one count of drug possession with intent to supply when he appeared before Acting Deputy Chief Magistrate Subusola Swain before the start of his trial.

Officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit searched Hinsey shortly after he reported for duty at the prison on April 3, the court heard.

Hinsey had six drug-filled packages, with a combined weight of one pound 11 ounces, taped to his body. 

Hinsey’s lawyer, Calvin Seymour, asked the court to be as lenient as possible.

Seymour said that Hinsey had been married for 10 years and was an active member of the Pentecostal Church of God on Yamacraw Road.

Seymour said that the courtroom was filled with congregants from Hinsey’s church. He said, “They are not here to condone what took place, but to support him on the next chapter of his life.”

Seymour said that Hinsey, who worked as a corrections officer since 2005, had forfeited his pension “so he’s already been punished”.

Hinsey paid a $7,000 fine to avoid a nine-month prison term. Swain also ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service at the Salvation Army to avoid spending an additional three months in prison. Swain also ordered the $711 found on Hinsey confiscated to the Crown.

The prosecution has seven days to file an appeal against the sentence.

In 2016, the appellate court found that the $500 fine imposed on corrections officer Ervin Miller, who was arrested with 5.5 grams of marijuana at the prison, was unduly lenient.

The court found that a 20-month prison term was the appropriate sentence.

Artesia Davis

Senior Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Artesia primarily covers court stories, but she also writes extensively about crime.
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