Woman jailed for two years for trafficking ganja gets bail on appeal

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Anitha Qualis, the 35-year-old woman who admitted she was selling ganja to support her four children and was jailed for two years, has now been granted bail by the High Court pending an appeal of her case.

Justice Navindra Singh granted bail in the sum of $50,000 on the plea of Qualis’ attorney Siand Dhurjon for the Court to consider the tragic circumstances under which she was forced to engage in the trafficking of narcotics to make a living.

Qualis of New Amsterdam, Berbice, made her first court appearance before Magistrate Crystal Lambert at the Bartica Magistrate’s Court on September 22, 2020, and admitted that on September 19, at Karrau Village Essequibo River, she had in her possession about 1.1 pounds of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.

On October 10, she was ordered to pay a fine of $754, 000 and was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Attorney Dhurjon said the woman was unable to complete school and because of various circumstances, she had her first child at 15. After this, she sought refuge in a relationship and had three other children, all the while enduring abuse. Earlier this year, she was abandoned penniless by the father of her children.

Attorney Dhurjon argued that the sentence handed down to Qualis was excessive, inordinate and unduly severe and failed to take into account significant mitigating circumstances in favour of her.

He argued too that the fine of $754,000 was excessive because the 1.1 pounds of ganja would not have been worth more than $50,000.

Dhurjon posited too that Qualis would serve out the time of her sentence even before the appeal of her case could be heard.

As a result, the judge granted bail.

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