Jimi Hendrix Encyclopedia
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Popular Tagsdrug possession John O’Driscoll court Jimi Hendrix Sharon Lawrence Chas Chandler drugs Marvin Wilson
December 08th, 1969
Jimi appeared in court at 10 a.m. in defense of a drug possession charge made against him in May 1969. Under the jurisdiction of Judge Joseph Kelly, Hendrix stood beside Defense Attorney John O’Driscoll and before twelve jury members.
The first witness for the Crown was Customs Officer Marvin Wilson. It had been Wilson who stopped Hendrix during a Customs check on May 3, 1969 as the guitarist tried to enter Canada to perform at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.
Wilson recounted his take of the situation, which was subsequently echoed his superior officer, a Customs Supervisor, as well as another Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.
Hendrix then took the stand next. The twenty-seven year old Seattle native proceeded to inform the court that he was entirely unaware of the drugs found in his travel bag. Hendrix made clear his own experimentation with a variety of drugs in the past, but that in this instance, he had no idea that someone had packed drugs in his travel bag. Hendrix claimed that the drugs were mistakenly packed in one of his travel bags along with a number of other gifts he had received from fans while attending a party in Hollywood.
December 09th, 1969
Jimi returned to court to take the stand once again, recounting his side of the story. After Jimi concluded his testimony, journalist Sharon Lawrence was called next. Lawrence testified that she had been with Hendrix at the Beverly Rodeo Hotel prior to his departure. Lawrence echoed Hendrix’s explanation that the drugs had been placed in the guitarist’s travel bags without his knowledge. The defense then called Hendrix’s former producer and co-manager Chas Chandler. Chandler proved to be a compelling witness, lending credibility to Hendrix’s claim while providing details within the life of a successful touring musician.
December 10th, 1969
Jimi Hendrix’s trial for drug possession entered its third day. Both the Counsel for the Defense and the Counsel for the Prosecution made their final address before the jury. The Defense rested the case on the law that to be charged with the possession of a narcotic there has to be knowledge of its existence. Hendrix’s attorney John O’Driscoll reminded the jury that a conviction cannot be handed down if there is any doubt. After a brief address by the Counsel for the Prosecution the jury left the courtroom and deliberated for eight hours before returning with a verdict of not guilty.