Lawyer Marc Pettingill told Senior Magistrate Archie Warner that a honeymooning couple visiting Bermuda on the Norwegian Star, were told to ‘get off the ship’ and were required to leave the cruiseship and find other accommodation ashore.
Mr Pettingill’s statement to the Magistrate came as he offered mitigating circumstances for Mr Steven Friedberg who had earlier pleaded guilty to possessing 6 grams of marijuana.
The drug had been found inside Mr Friedberg’s cabin, inside the safe in that cabin. The drug had been indicated by a sniffer-dog that was part of the Customs team that was searching the Norwegian Star on the morning of 12th September.
After detecting the drug around 10:45am, the team accosted Mr Friedberg when he returned to the ship about four hours later. Mr Friedberg was arrested and taken to Hamilton Police Station and admitted that the drug belonged to him and said that it was for his personal use.
In 10:00am Plea Court on 13th September, when reading the charge, the Senior Magistrate noted that the offence alleged was that of possessing with intent to supply. After questioning the Prosecutor, the Prosecutor amended the charge to simple possession. The Magistrate then asked if the charge had been vetted by the DPP? The Prosecutor replied that she did not know.
Magistrate Warner commented that matters such as these should be properly vetted by the Director of Public Prosecutions before they were brought to Court and that he found himself ‘embarrassed’ by having to handle matters that had not been properly handled by the administrative machinery that was supposed to deal with them.
Mr Pettingill then stepped forward and offered to assist the Court and Mr Friedberg. Mr Pettingill’s offer was accepted as was his recommendation that the matter be put over until 2:30pm that day.
At the continuation hearing, Mr Friedberg maintained his guilty plea and the DPP continued with the charge. Mr Pettingill suggested that the matter could be handled by a Conditional Discharge but the Prosecutor disagreed.
It was during this continuation hearing that Mr Pettingill said that Mr Friedberg and his wife had both been told to “get off the ship and make your own way home”. Magistrate Warner fined Mr Friedberg $800 and required that the fine be paid ‘forthwith’.