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Drug violation. Liberty Superior Court. Before Judge Findley.
Seab Barton appeals from his conviction of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
Appellant testified that he smoked Kool cigarettes; that he had not dropped the two chunks; and that his car had been parked outside the lounge for three hours and had been unlocked. Appellant stated that while he was sitting in the car outside the lounge, two men he did not know had approached and offered to fix the cassette player in the car, and consequently had been inside the car that evening.
In his sole enumeration of error, appellant contends the trial court erred by failing to give his requested charge on equal access. Although the trial court did not give the charge appellant requested, the charge given the jury did cover the doctrine of equal access. "The failure to give requested instructions in the exact language requested, where the charge given substantially covers the same principles, is not grounds for reversal. [Cits.]" Kelly v. State, 241 Ga. 190, 191-192 (4) (243 SE2d 857) (1978).
Further, assuming, without deciding, that the trial court's failure to give appellant's requested charge was error, it would not be reversible error here. Even discounting the cocaine found in the car, the trial transcript contains ample other evidence sufficient to support the conviction. Because the jury would have been authorized to convict appellant without reference to the contraband found in the car, applying the standard set forth in Johnson v. State, 238 Ga. 59, 61 (230 SE2d 869) (1976), we find that it is highly probable that any error in the charge did not contribute to the judgment in this case, and thus any such error was harmless. Morgan v. State, 181 Ga. App. 150, 151 (351 SE2d 497) (1986).
Dupont K. Cheney, District Attorney, David C. Walker, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
Jack E. Carney, Jr., for appellant.
Thursday May 21 12:04 EDT

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