As we approach the #Creamfields2019 festival thousands of people will descend into Daresbury in Cheshire. This is a very busy time for us criminal defence solicitors and it is not uncommon for extra duty solicitors to be allocated to deal with the volume of people arrested mainly for drug offences.
So please bear in mind the story of young Dean who visited the festival in 2017 intending to share his small number of drugs with friends. This has been a common scenario for many of our previous clients over the years and in most cases of this nature that we have dealt with the client avoided a prison sentence. That was before the case of this unfortunate person, whom we did not represent. What may happen in the future is less certain.
Here is what happened……..
On Bank Holiday Sunday 27th August 2017 Dean attended the
Creamfields Music Festival in Cheshire. He had a Kinder Egg concealed within
his anus containing seven wraps of cocaine. Whilst queuing for admission, he
was challenged by police.
He told the police that he had purchased the cocaine for
£300 and believed it to be of poor quality. It had been his intention to share
the cocaine with his friends throughout the day. He later pleaded guilty saying
that. The basis of plea said :
“I plead guilty upon the
basis that my intention was only to supply cocaine to my friends. I would make
no financial profit or any advantage at all.”
On 2nd March 2018 Dean , then aged 25 years, was sentenced at the Chester
Crown Court to eighteen months’ imprisonment for an offence of possession of
cocaine with intent to supply
There was no disagreement before the court that the offence
fell into category 4 of the sentencing guidelines because of the quantity and
the lesser role described by the guidelines and also because of the purpose for
which the cocaine had been purchased and the absence of any profit by virtue of
This meant that there was a sentencing range available for
the court starting at a high-level community order going up to three years
imprisonment with a basic starting point of eighteen months.
At the sentence hearing the judge was referred to a community impact statement prepared by the police which said among other things that the police invest heavily, both with financial and human resources, to ensure the preservation of order for, as well as enjoyment by, the large number of law-abiding festival goers.
Despite the recommendation in a pre-sentence report that he
be spared an immediate prison sentence the sentencing Judge regarded even
social supply at a music festival to be an aggravating feature and even more so
given the opportunities which he had and chosen to ignore to give up the drugs.
The Judge chose a starting point of two years, which he then reduced by 25% to
eighteen months to reflect the timing of his plea and decided that the
circumstances in which the offence was committed precluded him from suspending
He appealed that sentence.
The appeal court took the view that as a regular drug user
he would know that supply even if it was not for money still made him guilty albeit
that he was to be punished less harshly because it was not commercial supply.
The appeal court said:
“Further, in our judgment,
this was a local judge who will have had other Creamfields supply cases before
him. He was entitled to point to the conscious decision which the appellant made, sign after
sign, bin after bin, to proceed to the festival queue in the hope (and no doubt
expectation) that he would get away with it, not only as a significantly
aggravating feature over and above the venue at which the supply was to take
place, but also as a reason why the sentence should not be suspended. ……Having
given the matter careful thought…..we do not consider that the judge fell into
error, either with the starting point of two years or by failing to suspend the
sentence of eighteen months which he imposed. This was a case which called for
a deterrent sentence, albeit one which fell within the definitive guidelines”
So, the moral of the story is that you are now far more likely to still go to prison even if the drugs that you take in was intended to just share with your mates. If they were for your own consumption that is a different and far less serious matter, but you might not be believed.
This is a true story. The facts are taken from an appeal which you can read by following this link.
If you are unfortunate enough to be arrested do not forget that you have a legal right to be represented at the police station free of charge by the solicitor of your choice. The police will have the means to contact your solicitor on your behalf.
Rose & Dunn are specialist criminal defence and motoring law solicitors and higher courts advocates. We can be contacted at any time of day or night. If you need emergency police station assistance contact us using any of the methods below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.