Ganja was grown on farm

| 01/12/2009

(CNS): A prison officer has revealed that inmates were cultivating their own ganja plants at HMP Northward’s agricultural facility, Wilderness Farm. Marlon Dehany told the Grand Court on Monday that he had found more than 23 plants that prisonerswere growing among the more lawful produce of cucumbers, tomatoes and other vegetables. One of two officers supervising the prisoners at the farm on the day the prosecution believes Sabrina Schirn was murdered, Dehany said that, aside from growing the drug, inmates were also receiving ganja at the location from people on the outside.

Testifying in the trial of Randy Martin for the murder of 21-year old Schirn, the prison officer confirmed that the prison farm was a place where illegal contraband, including drugs and phones, was often hidden for prisoners to collect. Dehany also told the court that in April 2008 he had caught Martin attempting to recover a mobile phone and ganja hidden in a dry stone wall on the prison farm property.

As one of two officers on duty at the farm on 11 March 2009, Dehany said that Martin was behaving suspiciously throughout that day and he was convinced he “was up to something”. He said the prisoner was out of his sight on a number of occasions for up to 45 minutes, as he said that Martin had asked to go relieve himself in the bushes at least twice.

Recounting the events of that day, Dehany told the court that Martin had been assigned to the tomato patch that morning when the prisoners arrived at the farm. Dehany said that during the course of the morning Martin made a comment that he would be spending the day weeding in that area and would not be going to other parts of the property. However, the prison officer recalled how Martin had approached him holding toilet paper and indicated he would be heading towards the bottom of the property to the bushes.

Dehany said that it was his job that day to prepare the meal for the inmates working on the farm and as a result he was working in the kitchen for much of the morning, with the prisoners out of his sight. After lunch he noticed that Martin had gone missing and recruited his fellow officer to help find him. He said they had spotted Martin striding off across the property and went after him. Dehany said that Martin was carrying a black bag but when they came upon him he no longer had it. Asked what he had been doing, Martin reportedly owned up to sneaking off to smoke weed, which he said had been dropped off earlier in the day.

Following Martin’s admission, Dehany and his fellow officer, Greg Hunter, sent him back to the prison farm house while they set about searching the area. Dehany said he called the prison security and asked them to come and lock down the farm and send an official search crew, but it never happened.

The prison officer then told the court that a few days later he had discovered two coffee bottles buried in the area that contained weed residue, a white sock and a mobile phone and charger. He said he had read a text message on the phone that contained the name Randy Martin. After finding the coffee bottles he explained how he had re-buried them in order to wait and see if Martin would try and recover them when he returned to the farm. In the interim, however, Dehany said he was informed that Martin had been taken off prison detail, so he went and recovered the items and later handed them to prison management.

Dehany’s testimony was then contradicted in part by his fellow officer, Greg Hunter, who said it was he who cooked that day. He also said that Martin had been in his sight all morning, bar the ten minutes or so when he says Martin had indicated to him that he was going the bathroom in the bushes. The two prison officers gave conflicting accounts of what Martin was wearing and Hunter also said he did not see Martin carrying anything when the two officers followed him after lunch.

The two men did agree, however,  that the prison farm was an area where the inmates would pick up drugs and reportedly meet with girlfriends, as the 250-acre site was too big for just two guards to supervise, especially when one was also expected to cook the lunch for the farm detail.

During cross examination by defence counsel, Dehany said that when he had found the first phone allegedly belonging to Randy Martin in April 2008, he had discovered that the prison head of security’s number was stored in its numbers listings. Dehany testified, under oath, that Martin had also told him that the senior prison officer had sent Martin to the farm to observe his (Dehany’s) movements, as he said Mr Hudson suspected Dehany was the one supplying ganja to the inmates —  a charge which Dehany denied to the court.

Amidst confusing and conflicting testimony from the two prison officers, the judge, Justice Charles Quin, who is trying the case in the absence of a jury, asked a number of probing questions regarding the layout of the farm and the details of where the prisoners worked.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.