Court Dismisses Appeal For Drug/Gun Sentence

November 28, 2018

The court has dismissed an appeal from a ship crew member who was convicted of charges including importing drugs and a firearm.

In June 2015, Romonito Adlawan, a national of the Philippines, pleaded guilty to importation of a prohibited weapon, importation of a controlled drug, and money laundering.

The ruling said that “taking into account the mitigating factors in terms of Adlawan’s early guilty plea, his assistance to the Police, and his previous clean record,” the Court imposed a sentence of 5 ½ years for the importation of a firearm, three years for the importation of cannabis, to be served consecutively to the firearms sentence, and six months’ imprisonment for the money laundering, so the total was 8 ½ years.

He was employed as a seaman when he was first recruited to bring drugs into Bermuda in February 2015. His first pick-up and delivery was in February 2015, his second was the following month, his third the month after, and he was arrested following his fourth pick-up.

“For each of these drug importations, Adlawan was paid between $3,500 and $7,000. For the pick-up for which he was arrested, Adlawan was to be paid $8,000. It follows that by the time of his arrest, Adlawan was acting as a regular drug courier,” the ruling stated.

“The various drug pick-ups involved two other persons, one male [Butterfield] and one female [Perinchief], and in due course, those two persons were tried in the Supreme Court. That trial commenced on 24 October 2017 and ended on 30 November 2017 with both defendants being convicted. Adlawan gave evidence which was said by the Crown to be consistent with his witness statement.”

The ruling said that Mr Adlawan’s lawyer urged that a discount above 50% should be given in this case, because Mr Adlawan had given “additional assistance in respect of other matters”.

“The reality is that Adlawan received a discount of just over 43% at his sentencing, ” the ruling said, “And there are two features of Adlawan’s conduct which do not seem to me to merit the fullest possible discount. First, he had set out on a course of regular drug importations.

“Secondly, he had told the Police that while he knew the packages he was importing contained drugs, he did not know the type of drug. That could be said to count as much against him as for him. The drug might as well have been cocaine or heroin for all Adlawan knew, and if that had been the case, his sentence for the drug importation would no doubt have been higher.”

“In the circumstances, it seems to me that Adlawan was perhaps fortunate at sentencing, and the sentences imposed by the sentencing judge should not be varied by this Court, even taking into account the evidence he gave at the trials of Butterfield and Perinchief. No further discount is warranted. Accordingly, I would dismiss this appeal.”

The full judgement follows below [PDF here]:

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