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Dec 5, 2018

Chef Cameron is Cleared of Marijuana Cultivation Charges

Cameron Usher Sr.

Cameron Usher Senior first came to prominence in September 2017 when they Gang Suppression Unit raided a weed farm in Lucky Strike, where Usher and his son Kelvin, were seen on a Sunday afternoon. Kelvin would go missing for days, but Usher Senior was charged for marijuana cultivation. Today, Usher appeared in court to face that charge, but the prosecution could not determine that he owned the land or the marijuana crops. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has a report from the Magistrate’s Court.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

When Kelvin Usher mysteriously disappeared on September 24th, 2017, he had reportedly been in the company of his father at a marijuana plantation in Lucky Strike Village.  While at the farm, elements of the gang suppression unit descended on the father and son duo and a barrage of gunshots was fired.  In the ensuing mayhem, the seventeen-year-old fled into the wilderness, leaving his father behind.  Forty-one-year-old Cameron Usher Sr. was arrested and charged for marijuana cultivation and was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Sharon Frazer the following day.  His son, a first-year student at SJC Junior College, remained missing for several days and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance created quite a volatile situation between the citizenry and the Belize Police Department which ultimately led to the prime minister’s intervention.  Today, Cameron Usher has been acquitted of the charge and News Five spoke with Senior Counsel Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley who represented the Sibun Street chef.

 

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, Attorney for Cameron Usher Sr.

“The magistrate gave a very detailed and comprehensive review of all the evidence that came to his court.  He looked almost sentence by sentence into what the two officers had testified to and I think you could tell even at this late stage, the case had concluded in terms of presenting evidence from August and there were legal submissions as you heard him make reference to the evidence act and to a well-known case that lawyers use that comes from our Court of Appeal called Lisandra Matute.”

 

That argument hinges on the manner in which a confession statement is obtained from someone who admits to having taken part in criminal activity.  In this case, the burden of proof was on the GSU officers to show that the admission made by Usher was not given under duress or any other unlawful means.

 

Richard Bradley

“So the magistrate also carefully reviewed the legal submissions in relation to the claim by police that Cameron, who was chopping a tree stump, had said well, “I come fi free up dis ting.”  Whatever that means, you know.  So that could not be admitted because the law is very strict in protecting an accused person who it is claimed is admitting to committing a crime.  The evidence, the magistrate did say that there was no reason for the police to claim that he was not on the vicinity, but being in or around a marijuana field does not make you the cultivator and I am glad that he was at pains to point out that it had nothing to do with the prosecutor but that the police had not completed an investigation to make a link between I di pass through your weed field fi go da my fruit and vegetable place and I have done nothing.  Nobody find me with water or find me di do any kinda insecticide or di clear up the area, nothing at all.”

 

While Kelvin was found alive and well and life has since returned to normalcy for the teenager, his father has had this matter hanging over his head since last year.  Today, he walked out of the lower court clear of the charge of cultivation that was levied on him.

 

Richard Bradley

“It was a tight case.  It could have almost gone against Cameron Usher, but as you know, he is a man that believes in Jah Rastafari and whatever name we call God, he was praying real hard and his prayers were answered just now.  The magistrate gave him the benefit of the doubt and said that there was not enough nexus to link him to being the person who either owned that weed field or there was no evidence that he owned the land or that he had any kind of control over the weed or the land.  So in the end I thought he gave a very important decision for a magistrate’s court.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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