Hampton — In 1984, New Brunswick premier Richard Hatfield found himself at the centre of a scandal after a quantity of marijuana was found in his luggage during a routine security check at the Fredericton airport. The premier was travelling with Queen Elizabeth II during Her Majesty’s royal tour.
Hatfield, known by some as “Tricky Dick,” denied the stash was his, claiming that someone else had planted it inside his bag. He was charged under Section 3 (1) of the Narcotics act by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and was ordered to appear in court later that year. Although he was acquitted of the charges, his reputation was forever tarnished. His leadership was challenged and his Progressive Conservative party lost every seat in the 1987 provincial election. He resigned the leadership immediately after and faded from the public eye.
This week, in a surprising development, someone who was present at the time of the search-and-seizure has stepped forward to take responsibility for concealing the dime bag in the premier’s luggage. Terry Brent, now retired and living in Hampton, New Brunswick, felt it was high time to admit his involvement in the scandal. Brent said that the recent talk about decriminalization of marijuana has encouraged him to come forward and clear the hazy air. Expecting that he was now no longer in danger of losing his job and pension, Mr. Brent approached The Manatee to set the record straight.
“I always kept a bit of grass in the inside pocket of my coveralls. On that day, I was really freaked out, you know, because the Queen was coming. I didn’t know whether to bow, or shake her hand, or avoid her gaze and stare at the floor. I panicked and put my weed in the first bag that came down the conveyor belt. It was only after The Fuzz got involved did I realize I’d messed up real bad, man.”
“I felt real bad about setting Dick up like that. He was a good guy, just misunderstood by the squares. It wasn’t even my good weed either. Mostly seeds and stems.”
Brent is hoping that the RCMP will release the baggie of marijuana to him if it is no longer considered evidence in the case.