Judge takes ‘exceptional course’ and suspends South Yorkshire drug dealer's prison sentence

A South Yorkshire man who pleaded guilty to being concerned with the supply of Class A drugs has walked away from court with a suspended sentence.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 3:58 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 4:03 pm
Garner was sentenced for being concerned in the supply of cocaine, during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court today (Friday, March 8)

James Garner’s offending was uncovered on October 30, 2017, after the Vauxhall vehicle he was travelling through Rotherham in was stopped by police. 

Garner and two other males were present in the vehicle when it was stopped. 

Garner was sentenced for being concerned in the supply of cocaine, during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court today (Friday, March 8)

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“The car smelt of cannabis. On the rear seat there was a ruck sack carrying four containers,” Michael Tooley, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court. 

Police found packages containing different quantities of cannabis and cocaine in the rucksack.  

The packages included three packets containing 11 grams of cannabis, three packets containing 747 milligrams of cocaine, with purity ranging between 67 and 87 per cent, and another packet containing 7.6 grams of cocaine, with 88 per cent purity.

 

 

Garner’s phone was taken for analysis by police and was found to have text messages ‘consistent with drug dealing’ stored on it, the court heard. 

He pleaded guilty to charges of being concerned with the supply of a controlled drug of Class A and being concerned with the supply of a controlled drug of Class B at an earlier hearing.

Mr Tooley said Garner, of Lady Oak Road, Rotherham admitted to the offences on the basis he was a drug user who began dealing to pay off debts accrued when buying drugs as a group. 

Garner, aged 22, said he only sold drugs to people he knew, who were ‘social users’. 

Another male in the car with Garner when it was stopped is also set to face criminal court proceedings, concerning the drugs seized

Defending, Dermot Hughes, said Garner is a ‘young man of previous good character’ and made a ‘series of poor decisions’ at a time when he was trying to escape his problems. 

 

 

Mr Hughes praised his client for staying out of trouble during the 18 months it has taken for his case to be brought to court. 

“He didn’t do it because he’s malicious, or had any wilful intent. He was moving in circles where consumption of what’s referred to as recreational drugs is acceptable,” said Mr Hughes. 

Judge Sarah Wright sentenced Garner to two years in prison, and said she had been persuaded to take an ‘exceptional course of action’ to suspend his sentence for two years. 

“Mr Hughes has persuaded me that in your case there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation. I’m therefore going to suspend your prison sentence,” said Judge Wright, adding: “I’m taking a chance on you, don’t let me down.” 

Judge Wright also ordered Garner to complete 240 hours of unpaid work, and made him the subject of a six-month curfew, which will be in operation between 9pm and 5am.