Kingstown, St Vincent – Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne on Friday sentenced a senior nurse who had been charged with having 60 kilogrammes of cocaine in her possession to two years and 10 months in jail.
The court heard that Nurse Lucrehsa Nanton, 35, had the cocaine in her possession at the Owia Clinic on January 22, last year. Last week, she pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of 59 939 grammes of cocaine with intent to supply when she appeared at the Serious Offences Court.
Earlier this week, at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court, where the chief magistrate presided, the prosecution withdrew a charge of drug trafficking against the health worker.
In handing down the sentence, the Chief Magistrate said she had consulted the sentencing guidelines and assessed the category of the offence based on the quantum and the role that the defendant played.
The Chief Magistrate said that the court had assessed the circumstances and concluded that Nanton’s role was significant. She said that the aggravating features of the offence are that the drug was well concealed in a barrel covered with medical supplies in the nurses’ quarters at the clinic.
The police had to break down the door to get into the room after the keys for the nurses quarters were unavailable.
Browne said that having perused the caution statement, the court concluded that Nanton had attempted to shift blame for the drug. Different people were taken into custody as part of the investigation, based on statements given by the accused.
The Chief Magistrate said that as the staff nurse for the area, Nanton had a position of trust, responsibility and authority and that the time when the cocaine was taken to the clinic, it was a well calculated and planned process.
The Chief Magistrate noted that while the nurse had pleaded guilty to the offence, she did not do so at the earliest opportunity and not immediately after the drug was tested. (CMC)