Chippenham drug dealer spared jail
9:11am Monday 15th October 2012 in Latest News
A crack cocaine dealer has been told by a judge he is the 'one in a hundred' who doesn't have to serve a jail term for peddling the drug.
Timoy Graham was caught with 38 wraps when police launched a raid at the house in Chippenham where he was staying.
And when they searched his mobile phone they found it contained a series of messages referring to the illicit trade.
But after hearing the 30-year-old father-of-two had never been in trouble before, a judge said he was passing a sentence which 'might be seen by others as lenient'.
Recorder Michael Vere-Hodge QC, sitting at Swindon Crown Court, imposed a suspended jail term with 200 hours of unpaid work and a one month curfew.
He said: "It doesn't need me to spell out to you how serious an offence dealing in class A drugs is and you will understand, as others in court and anyone who reads about this case, that nine times out of ten those who get involved in dealing class A drugs end up serving a substantial prison sentence.
"I have had to think whether you are one of the nine out of ten or even 99 out of 100.
"I have come to the conclusion that it is just possible, and just permissible under the sentencing guidelines, to deal with you in a way which means you don't have to go straight to prison.
"It may be that that is a lenient sentence and one that doesn't accord with the sentencing guidelines. It is my view there are features here which allow me to follow the course I am going to."
Earlier the court had been told Graham was in a house on Hill Green, Chippenham, when police raided it at 10.30am on Tuesday January 24.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said Graham was awkward with officers when they tried to speak to him.
Once he was handcuffed they found the 38 wraps crack cocaine, which would each sell for £10, in one front pocket and a small amount of cannabis in the other.
They also found £355 in cash and his phone, which contained messages saying he was 'live' along with requests for drugs.
Graham, of Graham Street, Swindon, pleaded guilty to possessing a class A drug with intent so supply and straight possession of cannabis.
Rob Ross, defending, said his client is a devout Rastafarian and as such is ashamed of what he did.
He said he had lost his job, through no fault of his own, and following a silly argument had split with his partner.
Finding himself homeless and without an income Mr Ross said he was preyed upon by dealers who got him to sell drugs for them.
"He was in some ways taken advantage of: he agreed to sell drugs for a short period of time to tide himself over," he said.
"It was the worst mistake he has made in his life."
The judge imposed a one year jail term suspended for a year with unpaid work and a curfew from 7am to 7pm for 28 days.