Treasury gets injection of more than $25,000 as magistrate orders forfeiture of money believed to be tainted by crime

Over $25,000 went into the Government ‘s Consolidated Fund as a result of forfeiture proceedings in the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, May 25.

Reports say that Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh dealt with cases in which the monies are believed to be the proceeds of crime.

Walsh ruled that the sum of US$7,440 – seized on August 4, 2018, from Wayne Hewlett of Cassada Gardens – be forfeited to the State.

The Police had discovered the money during the execution of a search warrant at Hewlett’s home.  It was reported that the cash was found in a safe and drugs were discovered in the house, as well.

Reportedly, Hewlett has a record for similar offenses.

It was alleged that some of the money found belonged to his wife, who has a rental car business. Since she could legitimately prove that it was not ill-gotten, that portion was refunded to her.

In another matter, Chief Magistrate Walsh ordered that the sums of $7,759.50 and US$30, which had been seized from Kerry Oliver of Pigotts Village, on March 30, 2019, also be forfeited to the State.

Oliver apparently owns a small shop; and while officers were executing a search warrant on his premises, they found the large sum of money in addition to illegal drugs.

Reportedly, he too has previous convictions, and Oliver was unable to prove to the Court that the money was not the proceeds of ill-gotten gains.

In the meantime, Walsh ordered the Police to return $2,730 seized from Jerome Parker of Nut Grove, on May 9, 2020, during the execution of a search warrant.

Parker and another man had been taken into custody on drug-related charges, and his accomplice had taken the rap.  Therefore, no evidence was offered against Parker, who claimed that the money was his.

He reportedly gave a reasonable explanation as to how he had come by the cash, explaining that he had just picked up the money from Western Union.  

He alleged that someone had sent the money to his mother and he had been asked to collect it.  Apparently, the sender also confirmed that the money had, in fact, been remitted.

Accordingly, the magistrate opted not to confiscate the money, since Parker had given a plausible explanation.