July 4, 2020

Berry receives pardon

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Appeals Court Chief Justice, Sir John Chadwick

“He was a silly, arrogant boy, but that’s not who he is now,” Mr. James Austin-Smith told the Cayman Court of Appeal in March 2012.

He was referring to the case of his client, Caymanian, Anthony Devin Berry of Bodden Town, who was convicted in Summary Court on 13th December, 2010, of consumption of ganja, for which he received a $500 fine.

Berry had refused to enter the Drug Rehabilitation Court programme. A report prepared by the probation officer described him as nonchalant, he had missed appointments, did not show any remorse, and tested positive for ganja twice, including once just prior to sentence!

Therefore, Summary Court Magistrate Nova Hall, in saying Berry had shown no effort to be rehabilitated she had therefore found no basis for not recording a conviction instead of the more normal sentence of probation.

Berry got a huge shock, however, when he got off a plane in Texas to start his second semester at school and was turned around by US authorities.

Austin-Smith said Berry was refused a student visa and was told he would be permanently ineligible because of the 2010 conviction for ganja.

Because of the minor criminal conviction has caused such a tumultuous affect on Berry’s life, Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor on 16th April granted Berry a conditional pardon, “for the purpose of affording you an opportunity to resume your interrupted studies and with all other rights and privileges associated therewith”.

Berry is an extremely lucky young man and may this be a lesson to all young persons of his generation.

As Appeals Court Chief Justice, Sir John Chadwick said to Berry, “The law is the law and you can’t decide at age 18 that it doesn’t apply to you because it’s a silly law anyway.”

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