By Marcia Scott
A Canadian man, who attempted to smuggle cocaine with a view of generating the funds required for his son’s medical expenses, was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment when he appeared in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, June 5.
Donald Taylor, a 44 year-old social worker of Toronto address, was also slapped with a fine of J$750,000 after he pleaded guilty to possession of, dealing in, and attempting to export one pound of cocaine.
The facts outlined to the court are that on May 29, at approximately 12:50 p.m., Taylor was preparing to board a Canadian-bound West Jet flight, from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, when his suspicious behaviour was observed by the investigating officer.
The officer conducted a search of Taylor’s luggage and found three hair-product bottles, which, when opened, were found to contain a white substance resembling cocaine. Under caution, Taylor said, “I was just trying to help out my son who has cerebral palsy, I really messed up.”
He was subsequently arrested and charged.
In court, Taylor’s lawyer Charles Williams asked Resident Magistrate Winsome Henry to show leniency to his client.
“He has no previous convictions, and he cooperated with the arresting officer and told him that he was sorry,” Williams said of Taylor. “He is responsible for his 22-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy.”
“He has put his son at great risk and he (the son) will have to be put into a special institution,” replied RM Henry. “This is a 22-year-old who has relied on him (Taylor) all his life, and now he’s been put in jeopardy because of his father’s actions.”
The magistrate also scolded Taylor for his endeavour in smuggling the cocaine.
“On the one hand, we have this excellent gentleman who looks after his family, but on the other hand we have a man who came to Jamaica and decided to smuggle drugs out of the country. I don’t know what got into you,” RM Henry told the defendant.
In addition to the mandatory nine-month sentence, Taylor was also ordered to pay a fine of $250,000 or spend nine months in prison for possession of cocaine; $250,000 or nine months for dealing in cocaine; and $250,000 or nine months for attempting to export cocaine.