A British national who was convicted of being in possession of prohibited drug has told a Bundung Magistrates’ Court that someone advised him to take a mixture of cocaine and herbs to help diogmose his back pain.
Andrew Gardner was charged on allegation of being found in possession of 500 milligram of cocaine on 11th November 2016 at Inn Bar and restaurant at Senegambia. He was arraigned before Magistrate Pa Modou Njie on December 7 and pleaded guilty to the charge. “I am guilty but I need to talk to my ambassador for him to help me in this case,” Gardner told the court during his plea taking.
Mitigating for court mercy in last week’s judgment, Gardner said he has been living in the Gambia for 15 years and never had any brushes with the law. “I would beg the court to forgive me for my foolish mistake,” he said.
He said he had contacted the British Embassy in The Gambia but it said it could not help him with the payment of the fine. He appealed to the court to allow him pay the fine on installment which was granted by the magistrate.
He pleaded with the court to consider that he has a business in the country with many Gambian employees, promising that he will never repeat the action again.
After hearing Gardner’s plea in mitigation, Magistrate Njie said he did not waste the court’s time and therefore he would convict him on a minimum penalty. The magistrate then levied a fine of D250, 000 on Gardner and ruled that should he fail to pay the fine, he will serve a two-year jail term.
by Modou Kanteh