Appeals court rejects sentence challenge for former prison guard

The prosecution yesterday failed in its bid to have a corrupt former prison guard jailed for smuggling drugs to an inmate.

In June, former guard Vernard Hinsey pleaded guilty to smuggling almost two pounds of marijuana into the prison for an inmate.

Officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit searched Hinsey shortly after he reported for duty at the prison on April 3 and found the drugs taped to his body.

He paid a $7,000 fine to avoid a nine-month prison sentence and performed 200 hours of community service to avoid spending an additional three months behind bars.

The prosecution appealed the sentence on the grounds that it was unduly lenient.

However, prosecutor Cassie Bethel failed to overcome several hurdles when the matter was called before the Court of Appeal yesterday.

First of all, the appeal was filed outside of the seven-day window. Secondly, the official record of the appeal failed to disclose the circumstances of the case and how much drugs was involved.

The three-judge bench of Justices of Appeal Jon Isaacs, Roy Jones and Sir Michael Barnett questioned why Bethel didn’t get an affidavit from the police prosecutor to supplement the record that she described as “deficient”.

The court refused Bethel’s application for an adjournment and dismissed the appeal against sentence.

Isaacs told Hinsey that he was fortunate as he could have faced a prison term if the appeal had been allowed.


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Artesia Davis

Artesia primarily covers court stories, but she also writes extensively about crime.

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