Despite stirring appeals from her lawyers, 69-year-old convicted drug trafficker Grace Pierre-Holder was yesterday ordered to spend two weeks in prison while she awaits sentencing. Pierre-Holder, of Gasparillo, was found guilty of cocaine trafficking by a jury of the Port-of-Spain High Court. She and 29-year-old Deanah John-Finn, of Old Southern Main Road, Claxton Bay, were both convicted. John-Finn is also awaiting sentencing. The case was heard before Justice Carla Brown-Antoine. Both convicts tried to traffic cocaine in their shoes. Yesterday, when the matter was called for mitigation plea to be presented on their behalf, Pierre-Holder’s lawyer Theodore Guerra SC, requested additional time to prepare.
Guerra asked Brown-Antoine to grant his client bail until she was sentenced because she was diabetic and suffered from a thyroid disorder. Pierre-Holder also walks with the assistance of a cane. Before adjourning the matter for two weeks, Brown-Antoine refused Guerra’s request, remanding the duo to the Arouca Women’s Prison in Golden Grove, Arouca. Brown-Antoine said the prison’s infirmary was competent to deal with any medical complication Pierre-Holder might suffer while there. The two were arrested by officers of the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFBU) on February 10, 2000 at Piarco Airport while attempting to board an American Airlines flight bound for Miami, Florida, en route to London, England. The women were in the company of Pierre-Holder’s daughter, Michelle Leslie, also of Claxton Bay, and Jason Connell, her boyfriend at the time.
They were all arrested by police who found packets of cocaine hidden in the soles of their shoes. Connell was found guilty of the offence in the Arima Magistrates’ Court while Leslie pleaded guilty. They were both fined. While testifying in her mother’s defence Leslie said she had been given the shoes by a male companion who organised the group’s travel arrangements. She also said her mother had no knowledge of the drugs hidden in the shoes. Pierre-Holder was also represented by John Heath, while Ravi Rajcoomar defended John-Finn. Renuka Rambhajan prosecuted. The matter continues on May 24.