Businessman seeking bail in $10m case
A BUSINESSMAN accused of bringing in over $10 million worth of illegal drugs, is heading to the High Court to seek bail.
This was confirmed by Queen’s Counsel Michael Lashley, who is representing George Reginald Ivan Parris, 56, of No. 318 Inchcape Terrace, Well House, St Philip, along with Hal Gollop QC, Dayna Taylor-Lavine and Khadesha Wickham.
Parris, owner of R& R Iron Works Inc. and Construction, and Ace Recycling Ltd., was not required to plead when he appeared yesterday in the St Matthias Magistrates’ Court charged that on February 14, he had 1 028.4 kilogrammes of marijuana (about 2 262 pounds) and 39.5 grammes of cigarettes, worth $9 050 315, with intent to supply and traffick.
He was also accused of having 22.7 kilogrammes of cocaine, estimated to worth $1 135 000, with intent to supply and traffick on the same date.
Parris, a father of four, was also not required to plead to importation of ganja and cocaine between February 5 and 6, after the charges were read in a packed courtroom that included his wife and children.
According to police reports, the Customs Enforcement Division, Drug Squad, Canine Division and Coast Guard conducted a search of a container shipped to a business in St John. It contained recycled paper, a large quantity of cocaine and marijuana. Prosecutor Sergeant Vernon Waithe objected to bail. He said the evidence was strong against Parris; it was a hefty load of drugs and he feared if granted bail, the accused might not return to court to answer the charges.
However, Lashley submitted that the question of bail was not based on the seriousness of the offence, but rather on if the accused would return to court.
“To speak that my client is a flight risk, I must put a strong objection to that. He is a businessman of 17 years, and employs 13 employees on a good day and rise to 25 occasionally.
“If he is remanded, the employees can go on the breadline, and being the sole director, his business can fold,” he said, adding his client was willing to submit to any bail conditions and had already surrendered his travel documents to police.
Counsel said Parris had strong community ties, no convictions and should not be made to wait for trial.
“This case, a new charge read today, brings up the question of delays. When will the prosecutor have a file? Or to put it simply, when will they have their house in order? Then there is the issue of pre-trial . . . . I am saying so based on experience.”
“Bear in mind, Your Worship, if my client is remanded, there is no guarantee he would be given a trial, or a speedy trial given the justice system in Barbados,” he said, adding he was “begging and pleading” for his client not to be remanded.
Meanwhile, Gollop reiterated Lashley’s points and said his client was a good candidate for bail.
Referring to the matter involving businessman Charles Herbert, Christopher Rogers and Walter Prescod, Gollop said drugs were found on a vessel where the persons found were also charged, but in the end were granted bail.
However, Chief Magistrate Christopher Birch remanded Parris to jail. He bade his family farewell
GEORGE PARRIS was remanded to HMP Dodds until March 19.
(Picture by Xtra Vision Photography.)
as he was being taken away by prison officers to HMP Dodds.
He is scheduled to return on March 19.