After being found guilty of possession and intent to supply twelve grams of cocaine last week, Emanuel Azille, was told that he could face a life sentence, however, he was spared that fate today when Justice Birnie Stepehnson-Brooks ordered that he spend eight years in prison and pay a fine of $105,000 in one year.
Azille, who is from Cottage, appeared for sentencing at the High Court of Justice this morning. A jury of seven women and two men had found him guilty of the offense after a short trial on January 31.
He is expected pay the fine in one year or face another year imprisonment, according to the court.
Justice Birnie Stephenson-Brooks who presided over the matter, said that sentencing was difficult.
Azille, according to the prosecution, had been found with the drugs in a vacant house in Portsmouth on December 3, 2008.
During the trial, state’s witness Constable Tino Victor told the court that he along with two other officers were on mobile patrol on the said date when they heard a voice saying, “ what you want, a five pack?” Upon hearing this, the officers investigated and saw a man standing on a step.
They went in search of the man who ran and had disappeared behind a wooden building. Victor said he and the other officers entered the building (since the door was opened), and the defendant was seen sitting on a mattress with his head down and legs opened.
It is reported that upon seeing the police Victor said, “Oh…you caught me. How you know I was there?”
After identifying himself, the police officer said that he looked between the defendant’s legs and noticed a small brown substance in a clear plastic bag with aluminum wrappings. Victor reportedly said that there were 37 of them in all. He also noticed a sum of money ($50.75) between his legs. When questioned, Azille denied knowing anything about the substance but said the money belonged to him and asked for it to be returned.
One of Azille’s arguments during the trial was that the police officers could not have heard anyone asking about five pack since the police vehicle windows were all up.
Constable Javeed Prince who also testified, gave a similar account of the incident.
In a sworn testimony Azille, who chose to represent himself, repeatedly said that he had been framed by someone.
“I was in bed and I was awakened by something kicking the mattress that I was sleeping on. When I opened my eyes I saw two police officers… each of them had a gun in their hand. Then the officer took a plastic with something in it. I didn’t know what was in it at the time. When I realized what was in it, he asked me whose is it. I tell him is not mine. They say they want to search the house…they went head,” Azille said in his testimony.
Azille said that the officers had found the said money in his pockets during a body search. He claimed to have earned the cash through selling his art work to tourists.
Azille told the court that he was not a supporter of drugs and even though he was convicted, he was “absolutley innocent” of the crime. He said that the police never found any drugs or money between his legs.
Still proclaiming his innocent after a jury found him guilty, Azille said, “The wicked get reward that belong to the righteous and the righteous gets what the wicked deserves.”
He then told the jury,” I wish you all well but you all took the police statements, which were all lies.”
Justice Birnie Stephenson-Brooks had explained before adjourning the matter for sentencing that such an offense wich invoilves a Class A drug (cocaine), Azille could either face a fine of up to $200,000 or pay three times the street value of the drugs – whichever figure is the greater – and imprisonment for life.
She told the defendant that he had the lengthiest conviction sheet that she had seen in her years on the bench.
“I am 100 percent innocent in that case,” Azille maintained when given a chance to mitigate.