Photo Credit: Lvella Titley/BVI Platinum News
A sailor/crew member of Smith's Ferry Service will stand trial in September over allegations that he failed to declare over $10,000 in cash to Customs.
Collin St. Clair, 50, a native of Guyana has pleaded not guilty to failing to declare $13,325.00.
During his appearance this week in the Magistrate's Court, it was disclosed that the file has been completed and the crown is in a position to commence the trial. September 28 was set as the trial date.
St. Clair, who is represented by Attorney At Law Stephen Daniels, remains on bail.
During his April appearance, Prosecutor Valston Graham said on April 11, Police were notified by Customs that a search was conducted on Smith's vessel 'Bomba Charger', which arrived from St. Thomas at the Road Town terminal around 3:21 pm.
During that search by Customs, a blue backpack was found in a wooden cabinet in the wheel house area containing a vacuumed bag wrapped with duct tape. Graham said this is the area that the captain usually has command of.
Inside the vacuumed bag, there was a large amount of cash and according to Customs, St. Clair said the bag belonged to him and that the monies were given to him by one of his co-workers.
The court heard that St. Clair admitted that he did not declare the monies, hence he was arrested.
It is alleged that during an audio/visual interview, St. Clair stated that the monies were given to him by a co-worker. He explained to Police that 'Bomba Charger' left St. Thomas about 2:00 pm and first docked at West End to disembark West End passengers. The co-worker disembarked the ferry at West End and gave the monies to St. Clair.
The defendant claimed that the monies were in his bag, but he did not know how much was there. He then stored the bag containing the monies in a general locker in the wheel house. It was expected that the monies would have been taken off the ferry following a trip from Virgin Gorda and returned to the cleaning hole at Road Reef Marina where Smith's boats are kept.
It is alleged that St. Clair admitted that he did not have any intention of declaring the monies to Customs. However, during bail application for his client, Daniels said it was an error in judgment on the part of his client. He also argued that his client never had the opportunity to declare the monies to Customs because Customs went onboard and found the monies.
Daniels said in the case where they are stating his client said he had no intentions of declaring the monies, that position could have changed at any time, because he did not reach that stage of declaring.
The lawyer told the court that St. Clair has been living in the Territory for seven and a half years and has always been employed with Smith's Ferry. He said St. Clair who lives in Freebottom, is married and has seven children who all reside in Guyana. Daniels said they are dependent on St. Clair for their livelihood.
The monies have been detained pending investigations.