A man who had ten bags of marijuana on board a boat six years ago was yesterday sentenced to four years behind bars.
Chris Maharaj would have faced a 20-year sentence had the matter been heard before a judge and jury.
"Had it gone to trial, given the quantity, seriousness, prevalence and it was on the high seas, you would have been sentenced to 21 years hard labour," Justice Anthony Carmona said.
Maharaj, 29, pleaded guilty to possession of the marijuana for the purpose of trafficking while on the pirogue Tsunami on June 15, 2006.
He had been in prison for the past six years and Carmona said he took into consideration that this amounted to nine prison years.
He also considered Maharaj's guilty plea which was entered two weeks ago.
Maharaj had also assisted the prosecution who was trying to find his co-accused.
The co-accused absconded after they were committed to stand trial in the High Court.
Carmona said Maharaj's information was yet to bear fruit but he still took a year off the five-year sentence he had planned to pass on Maharaj.
It was around 2 a.m. in 2006 that Maharaj and another man were seen by Coast Guard officials in the boat while at the Gulf of Paria near Point Lisas.
They appeared to be having engine problems. Coast guard officer Timothy Baptiste and his crew pulled alongside and asked the two men about the bags on board their boat.
Both said they contained marijuana.
Defence attorney Subhas Panday described his client as a "small time hustler" who was remorseful for his actions.
"I remind you that the road to hell is paved with many a hustler," Carmona told Maharaj.
In passing sentence, Carmona suggested that exhibits be photographed or videotaped to help with space at police stations.
"Property rooms are stacked high with matters. There is an existing culture in Trinidad and Tobago, a law enforcement culture that they keep drugs for years and years causing deterioration... Let good sense prevail," Carmona said.
Baptiste and his crew who were aboard a vessel called Great White were yesterday commended for their sense of observation and detection in the case.
Police constables Pino, Martin and Bernard, who were involved in the matter, were also lauded by the judge and a letter will be sent to them and they were awarded $500 for their work.