8 September 2016

BVI News reports

Rebecca Prince, the United States citizen who was caught entering the British Virgin Islands with 5.5 grams of marijuana, has been fined $3,500.

Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards fined her yesterday (September 6) after it was discovered that her medical marijuana prescription that had been presented to the court is invalid.

During a previous court appearance, Prince’s attorney Patrick Thompson said his client uses prescribed medical marijuana to counteract an extreme anxiety disorder.

The court was also shown what is said to have been supporting documentation.

But when Prince returned before the court yesterday, Magistrate Richards raised concerns about the copy of the prescription that was presented.

The section of the medical document that would have shown the ‘date of recommendation and the date of validity’ was missing from the photocopied document.

The prescription however had a reference website, which could have been used to determine its validity.

After visiting the website and entering the prescription number, Magistrate Richards concluded that there was no proof the prescription is valid.

While admitting that there were “challenges” with that prescription, Thompson maintained that his client was given medical documentation that permits her to use marijuana.

However, Magistrate Richards stated that, even if the prescription had been valid, it would not have been considered a factor in sentencing.

She reiterated that marijuana use is illegal in the British Virgin Islands, and United States laws hold no authority on local soil.

Before handing down the sentence, Magistrate Richards noted that “possession [of a controlled drug] is quite a sore in BVI community”.

She then warned the 33-year-old American offender. “Be careful when you are traveling of what you carry with you.”

Prince, in the meantime, was ordered to pay the fine immediately or serve four months imprisonment.

Magistrate Richards also placed a destruction order on the marijuana that was found in Prince’s luggage.

Meanwhile, when Prince appeared in court on September 1, the magistrate had ordered that she be remanded in custody until her sentencing. She spent her 33rd birthday behind bars.