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I’m not hooked on weed, says smoker


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DESPITE CONFESSING to smoking ten spliffs a day, convicted escapee Matthew Mortimer Phillips strenuously denied he was addicted to marijuana.
“It is not an addiction.  I can stop if I want to stop,” he said. “I like it; I used to like it but it isn’t something  I can’t stop,” he added.
Phillips, 33, of Pavilion Road, Deacons, St Michael, was back in the No. 5 Supreme Court yesterday for sentencing after he was found guilty, earlier in this Session of the Continuous Sittings, of escaping without the use of force,  on October 2, 2008,  after he was a person  in lawful custody.He was sentenced  to 12 months in prison.
Phillips’ denial arose as a result of a confession he made to probation officer Nigel Newton, who read  a pre-sentencing report  to the court.
Justice Randall Worrell had asked Phillips what benefits he could possibly derive from smoking ten spliffs a day, especially since he (Phillips) said he had two children and wanted to be released so he could support them.
“It don’t benefit me in no way pertaining to my children,” Phillips replied. “I was brought up and introduced to the substance. I like it and I continued using it,”  he said.
Phillips had earlier told the court he loved his two children, lived for them, and given what he was hearing about the increasing number of child abuse cases in Barbados, wanted to be out so he could protect them.
Crown Counsel Elwood Watts, who prosecuted the matter, said Phillips was still contending that police told lies on him despite the guilty verdict.
The prosecutor suggested that a sentence between six and 18 months should be appropriate.
Watts added that while Phillips’ report spoke of how many spliffs he smoked daily, it “might have escaped me but I didn’t see where it said  he had stopped”.
He continued it appeared that Phillips was bent on continuing his lifestyle and was someone who “was schooled at the university he is currently attending”. Phillips had been on remand at HMP Dodds.
Justice Worrell told Phillips he considered that escaping lawful custody was a serious offence and that only a custodial sentence would suffice.
“I am going to be brutally honest. You are not going home today,’ the judge told him.
Justice Worrell added that he had considered Phillips had not injured anyone in his dash for freedom and his flight did not last long since he turned himself in later that day.
The judge said he had also considered the three months Phillips spent on remand pending sentencing.

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