Antiguan football officials freed of ganja-related charges
The two Antiguan football executives who were arrested on ganja-related charged in March were today freed in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court after the Crown offered no evidence against them.
Forty-nine-year-old football coach Derrick Edwards and 48-year-old football coordinator Danny Benjamin were charged with possession of ganja, dealing in ganja, taking steps to export ganja and conspiracy after the police seized travel bags containing the illegal drug at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.
The Crown withdrew the charges after it was shown that the men were not in possession of the bags all the time.
Defence lawyer Bert Samuels pointed that the Evidence Act prescribes that for the men to be charged with possession they would have to be in control of the bags at all times.
Attorneys-at-law Stacey Knight and Bianca Samuels also represented the defence.
Following submissions, the prosecution dropped its case.
Parish Judge Broderick Smith, who presided over the case, ordered that the men's passports must be returned to them.
The Antiguan football team came to Jamaica to play a friendly match the local football team.
It was reported that Edwards and Benjamin were at the airport and were in the process of boarding a flight with the Antiguan football team for Antigua when their bags were searched.
It was further alleged that a total of 3.6 pounds of compressed ganja were recovered from their bags.
When the men were arrested it was reported that Edwards insisted that it was Benjamin who packed the team's luggage and that he knew nothing about the ganja.
It was reported that Benjamin denied packing the illicit drug in the bags and reportedly said that individual players had access to the luggage.