Luciano fined $2,400 for
Saturday, June 07, 2003
singer, Jepther "Luciano" McClymont was yesterday fined $2,400 in the Corporate
Area Resident Magistrate's Court for possession of, and attempting to export
However, no conviction
was recorded against the Rastafarian singer as presiding magistrate, Martin
Gayle, acceded to the request of his attorney, Hugh Wilson, that no conviction
order be made against his client.
"Sometimes some decisions are unpopular,
but they are decisions which must be made in the interest of justice," Gayle
said before handing down his sentence. "Each case has its particular
circumstances. The court treats every person according to the circumstances that
come before the court. That is what I call justice. The court should not look to
destroy anybody's life."
fined $400 or 10 days for possession of marijuana and $2,000 or 10 days for
taking steps to export the weed.
popular singer was held by the police on Labour Day as he attempted to board a
flight to New York and a quantity of ganja was found in his suitcase.
Yesterday, his attorney put in a lengthy
submission to the court, asking that his client not be fingerprinted and that no
conviction be recorded against his client.
"It was one spliff. We use marijuana,"
Wilson told the magistrate.
plural. What you mean?" RM Gayle asked the lawyer as persons in the gallery
"We, referring to Mr
McClymont," a smiling Wilson replied "We use it medicinally, culturally, for
culinary purposes and ceremoniously."
The attorney told the court that Luciano
used marijuana as an aspect of his religious practice which is grounded in the
Rastafarian faith. He cited the findings of the Barry Chevannes-led Ganja
Commission that ganja should be decriminalised for personal use and the
announcement by Attorney General and Minister of Justice A J Nicholson earlier
this year, that legislation was being put in place to legalise the use of small
amounts of ganja, to further his case. Wilson also mentioned the recent Canadian
and British rulings that decriminalised ganja for personal use.
"One is inspired when one uses ganja,"
the attorney argued.
In his plea for the
court's lenience, the lawyer spoke of the foreign exchange earning potential of
his client and his clean rap sheet.
is a cultural icon who generates immeasurable foreign exchange. He is no
criminal," Wilson said. "He has a tour of Japan and after that a tour of the
United States which will require work permits. If a conviction is recorded
against him it would destroy his musical career."
Yesterday when the singer appeared in
court, he appeared pensive during the activities. However a broad smile covered
his face when the ruling of a no conviction order was made against him.
"I am very relieved. My lawyer
represented me well. He did his research. All praise is due to Jah," an elated
Luciano told the Observer after the trial.