Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Jasmine Hartin returns to court to face drug possession and common assault charges


Canadian national Jasmine Hartin was back at the San Pedro Magistrate Court on Thursday, January 26th, to answer charges of Possession of a Controlled Drug and Common Assault. The court session involved presentations by Hartin’s legal team on the charge of Possession of a Controlled Drug after the Common Assault case was adjourned to March 8th. The presentations and submissions by Hartin’s attorney Ronell Gonzalez regarding the drug charge, attempted to dispute the evidence from the prosecution. The session spanned for almost two hours before the matter was adjourned to March 15th by the Magistrate.
The court hearing started around 3PM, with the Common Assault adjourned almost immediately. Hartin took her position inside the courtroom, and the prosecution started their presentation, focusing on the Possession of a Controlled Drug charge. The prosecution presented testimonies of a police officer on duty when Hartin was detained on May 28, 2021, after the fatal shooting of Superintendent Henry Jemmott. Hartin is also linked to his death and was charged with Manslaughter by Negligence. She is waiting to start a trial regarding that incident in April of this year.
The presentation by the prosecution via the witness indicated that Hartin was brought into the San Pedro Police Station around 1:50AM on May 28, 2021. She looked normal and was processed for detention following the incident in which Jemmott lost his life. The police said Hartin had a cream-colored bag they examined before her. Inside they found a clear Ziplock bag with a powdery substance suspected of cocaine. The police said Hartin was informed that she would be charged with possessing crack cocaine. The substance was weighed and placed in an envelope for testing.
Jasmine Hartin denied it was cocaine, and according to the witness, she refused to sign a document acknowledging the findings in her bag. However, she disputes this, claiming she was never asked to sign such a document. The police officer said he then signed as a witness. The suspected cocaine was reportedly sent to the Belize National Forensic Science Service Laboratory on May 29th. The results were available on June 28th when Senior Superintendent Christopher Noble picked up the certificate bearing the test results. The report allegedly indicates that the substance was cocaine. The prosecution submitted that due to those facts, there was enough evidence for such a certificate to be tender as an exhibit and used in court.
Jasmin ‘s lawyer disputed the prosecution’s allegations questioning the said certificate. Gonzalez questioned the certificate’s laboratory reference number, among other discrepancies he raised during the court hearing. Gonzalez asked the court not to consider the description and evidence presented by the prosecution. He asked that such laboratory certificates offered by the prosecution not be considered evidence/exhibit in this case. This petition was not honored by the Magistrate, and instead, the case will continue March 15th, where it will be further discussed.
Jasmine Hartin expects these charges to be dismissed, particularly the Possession of a Controlled Drug because she denies it was cocaine. Hartin and her team claim to have an official laboratory test showing that the substance found in the Ziplock bag was not cocaine. She said they would continue fighting in court with evidence to prove her innocence regarding these charges.
The case continues in March. The Sun will keep following.

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