W. J. Bailhache, Q.C., Deputy Bailiff, and Jurats Le Cornu and Olsen
The Attorney General
Pedro Manuel Sousa Penha
Sentencing by the Inferior Number of the Royal Court, following a guilty plea to the following charge:
1 count of:
Being concerned in the supplying of a controlled drug, contrary to Article 5(c) of the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law 1978 (Count 1).
Details of Offence:
The defendant was located in an outbuilding/store in St John in possession of a rucksack containing 1.64 kilos of cannabis. The wholesale value is £5,940 and the street value is between £16,400 - £24,600. The defendant admitted that he had been supplied with the keys to the outbuilding two days previously together with directions as to how to get there and this was so that he could help himself to 3 grams of cannabis. He was not paying for the cannabis. He had located the rucksack and was in the course of emptying it and was then going to weigh out a piece of cannabis on the digital scales that he had brought with him and use a knife which he had found at the premises to cut off the piece of cannabis. He would not have taken more than 3 grams and he would have returned the remaining blocks of cannabis into the rucksack. He was not prepared to name the individual who had provided the keys/directions etcetera.
The Crown was highly sceptical as to the version of events provided. At the sentencing hearing the Crown accepted the factual basis for his sentencing but it was queried whether, in the light of that factual basis, the defendant had been correct to plead guilty to the Article 5(c) offence.
The Defence contended that a guilty plea was appropriate because there was a technical point in being concerned in the supply in that the defendant was to return the other pieces of cannabis into the rucksack thereby "supplying" the original owner of the rucksack and its contents.
Details of Mitigation:
Guilty plea entered on indictment. First drug offence. Cooperative to the extent that he gave an account of his movements; did not have the benefit of remorse as it remains his stated intention to continue to use cannabis. Assessed at being at high risk of reconviction. Is in regular employment.
Guilty plea; cooperation; positive character references.
No drugs. Irrelevant motoring offences.
During the course of the hearing the Crown changed its position given the factual basis now ascertained and indicated that a financial penalty was probably the correct level of sentence.
150 hours' Community Service Order, equivalent to 9 months' imprisonment.
Forfeiture and destruction of the drugs, scales and knife sought.
Sentence and Observations of Court:
The defendant had pleaded guilty to being concerned with the supply of cannabis but the nature of the supply was on a most technical basis. The Crown had accepted the defendant's factual account. The Court was obliged to punish him on that basis. It could be said that in the circumstances an offence of possession of cannabis might have been the more appropriate offence. The defendant was warned as to the consequences if he continues to use cannabis as he will commit a criminal offence and the Court will then impose appropriate sentences for those circumstances. It could eventually lead to him receiving custodial sentences.
£200 fine or 2 weeks' imprisonment in default.
One month given in which to pay fine from date of sentencing.
Forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and scales ordered.
J. C. Gollop, Esq., Crown Advocate.
Advocate J. W. R. Bell for the Defendant.
THE DEPUTY BAILIFF:
1. You have pleaded guilty to a charge of being concerned in the supply of cannabis. The nature of the supply is at its most technical on the basis of the plea which has been given to us by your counsel and which the Crown has accepted and the Court is therefore obliged to proceed on this basis and it may well be that in other circumstances one would have looked at the offence on these facts as being more an offence of possession of cannabis.
2. We are accordingly going to sentence you to a fine of £200 with a default sentence of 2 weeks' imprisonment if you do not pay and you are to pay the fine within one month of today.
3. It is clear from the background report that you have considered that the taking of cannabis is something you might continue. I should warn you that it is a criminal offence and that if you do continue you should be facing rather more serious penalties on another occasion and so you need to revisit your activities in that respect.
4. We order the drugs and scales be forfeited and destroyed but not the knife.