Paraplegic Jamaican gets four years’ hard labour for ganja

A 36-year-old paraplegic man, who was arrested at Piarco International Airport more than two years ago after trying to conceal a large quantity of marijuana in his wheelchair, has been sentenced to four years’ hard labour.

Aaron Lewin, who was said to be a road-side vendor from Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, was sentenced on Friday by Senior Magistrate Rae Roopchand in the Arima Magistrates First Court.

Lewin pleaded guilty  to the charge of attempting to traffick 10.94 kilogrammes of marijuana on December 23, 2011. 

In addition to being charged with marijuana trafficking, Lewin was charged under the Customs Act for importing a prohibited substance and failing to declare such item to Customs officers at Piarco. He was represented by attorney Fareed Ali.

In passing sentence, Roopchand said he considered the large quantity of drugs which Lewin had in his possession, as well as concerns raised by his attorney over his health while in custody.

 Ali also asked Roopchand to dismiss the Customs charges, which he said only carried fines which his client could not pay since Lewin spent the past two and a half years in jail after he was arrested. After careful consideration, the magistrate sentenced Lewin to four years’ hard labour, one year less than the five-year maximum. However, the Express was told Lewin will only have to spend 18 months in prison, after which he will be deported. —Alexander Bruzual 


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