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Sanctuary reprimanded and discharged on drug charges

Antoinette Connell

Sanctuary reprimanded and discharged on drug charges
Romell “Sanctuary” Bennett (FILE)

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Former People’s Monarch Sanctuary, who was caught by police growing cannabis at home, said he turned to the illegal drug after entertainment work dried up for him during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 41-year-old Pick Me Up singer, whose real name is Romell Ulric Bennett, admitted yesterday that he had 20 pounds of cannabis valued at $20 000, that he cultivated it, that he had it for supplying and that he trafficked in it on the same day at his St John residence.

A contrite Bennett appeared before Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes in the Magistrates’ Court and was represented by attorney Michael Lashley QC, Simon Clarke and Sade Harris, who pleaded for mercy explaining that musicians were experiencing hardship.

The father of two became hugely popular with the song which won him the title in 2017 after his earlier hit Mega Monday.

In asking the court to be lenient with Bennett, Lashley said that it was hard for the entertainers and a criminal record would bar the first-time offender from future travel to perform and earn a living.

The offender was remorseful, had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and did not waste the courts’ time, Lashley pointed out.

Bennett, he said, was the sole breadwinner in the family with two children, one a minor. Lashley also cited Bennett’s “outstanding contribution to culture locally and internationally”, saying he should be commended.

Chief Magistrate Weekes agreed that it was a rough time for entertainers and said he would temper justice with mercy.

The court reprimanded and discharged Bennett on all the charges except for the cultivation. For that he was placed on a bond to keep the peace for nine months failing which he will have to pay $1 500 forthwith or spend six months in prison. The magistrate emphasised that once Bennett did not break the law within the nine months his record would be remain clean. (AC)