Nottingham crime solicitor advocate Phil Plant and senior crown court litigator Ruth Campbell recently prepared a case for sentence before Derby Crown Court, securing a constructive rather than punitive sentence despite the published guidelines for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
Possession with Intent to Supply
Our client had been charged with possession with intent to supply both heroin and crack cocaine. The police had carried out a raid on her house and found significant quantities of both types of drug. The crack cocaine had been concealed about her person. The quantities recovered were consistent with the supply of both of the drugs. Our client had a long history of heroin use.
In interview our client had chosen to make no reply to questions put to her, as was her right. Unfortunately, she then made matters worse for herself by failing to attend her first court hearing. Fortunately, she was allowed to remain on bail despite this.
Basis of Plea
Once her cases reached the Crown Court Phil discussed with the prosecution the possibility of a compromise. His client would plead guilty to possession with intent to supply crack cocaine but would offer a plea of simple possession of the heroin. The sale of the crack cocaine was said to be to fund her heroin addiction. This compromise is called a ‘basis of plea’.
This compromise might prove significant upon sentence as it would be an aggravating feature were our client to be found guilty of supplying to different drugs.
The prosecution accepted the pleas on offer. Despite a guideline starting point of 3 years even taking into account the plea Phil successfully argued that the case should be adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation service to see whether any realistic alternatives to custody should be imposed.
At sentence, the Judge was persuaded to impose a suspended prison sentence with community requirements despite the guidelines. This was a far more constructive disposal and will give our client an opportunity. with support, to put her drug use behind her.
Custody may often not be as unavoidable as it might seem. With careful preparation and the right approach a client may improve their chances of being dealt with leniently. If you wish to discuss a case with Phil then please telephone him on 0115 9599550. To speak to Ruth please telephone her on 01623 675816. You can also email your enquiries here.