Suspended Sentence in Serious Case of Supplying Class B Drugs

Phoebe Coleman

13 May 2024

Following an investigation dating back to 2022, our client pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply Class B drugs at his Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing before Southwark Crown Court.

In 2022 our client was stopped and searched. Found on him was £23.03g of cannabis, £215 in cash, two iPhones and a grinder. Following his arrest the police searched his home address. A total of 228.2g of cannabis was found there. The case therefore involved 251.23g of cannabis in total, which included multiple strains. Also found at the address were weighing scales, a balaclava, four other phones including two Nokias believed to be burner phones, individual deal bags and 3 knives. The evidence suggested that our client was running a small but serious operation.  

One of the seized phones was downloaded and showed messages clearly indicating supply. Some of these texts were sent to one or two recipients but the majority were “broadcast” or “bulk” messages sent to over 90 individuals. These messages included the strain of cannabis, the weights to be sold and their price. Other text messages indicated meet-ups and dealing activity, and images of large amounts of cannabis.

In conference with our client, it became clear that he was suffering from mental health issues at the time of the offending, and his mental health had since deteriorated significantly, which included a period under in hospital. We obtained his medical records and instructed a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist confirmed the severe risk the client was to himself and diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia of an enduring nature. Additionally, we liaised with his community mental health team to obtain records of his engagement and put them in touch with our psychiatrist. This allowed our psychiatrist to have a full overview of the support our client was receiving in the community and allowed him to recommend and confirm to the Court that his mental health team would assist in the event of any mental health treatment order. Our psychiatrist confirmed that our client would struggle to cope in the custodial environment should he receive a sentence of imprisonment.

Ahead of sentence, we gathered further mitigation, which included several character references from family members and those close to our client. They spoke of the difficult circumstances our client had faced leading to a breakdown of his mental health, and their commitment to supporting him.

The prosecution submitted that due to the significant amount of cannabis and the other items found at the address, in addition to the number of text messages and contacts, our client fell into the significant role category. They submitted that the appropriate starting point should be upwards of 1 year imprisonment, due to the aggravating nature of the evidence.

We submitted that due to the mitigating features present the case should fall between significant and lesser role.  The Court accepted our submissions. The Judge accepted in his remarks that the substantial mitigation was relevant, including the evidence we put forward about our client’s mental health, and the character references which demonstrated the considerable support our client received from his family and mental health services. He was of the opinion that the support the client received was influential on his life moving forward and he did not wish to take this away.

Our client was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months with unpaid work and rehabilitation activity requirements.

Our client and his family were deeply grateful for the result, saying:

“Thank you so much for you and your teams help, we appreciate it so much!”

Phoebe Coleman was the solicitor with the conduct of this case and was assisted by her paralegal Natasha Hardaker. Paul Crampin was briefed in this matter and Joe Hingston represented our client for sentence, both of Mountford Chambers.

Thank you

A member of our team will contact you shortly.