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Drug addict is spared jail
7:00am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
A 52-YEAR-OLD caught with hard drugs for the third time has walked free from court.
Stewart Summerfield would have faced a mandatory seven-year jail term if his first offence of dealing had taken place a few years earlier.
But after hearing how he was just looking after the drugs for his dealer and was again trying to get his life back in order, a judge imposed a suspended sentence.
Accepting Summerfield’s version of events, Recorder Stephen Lennard said it was not uncommon for people to use his excuse.
“It has been said flippantly by some judges it is amazing there is a drug problem at all if there is no one doing anything other than looking after it for their dealers,” he said.
“But it is important, as Mr Ross points out, that there is nothing else to indicate dealing.
“It is on this basis alone that I am prepared to take a course that does not result in the loss of your liberty today.
“You have a job, you have struggled in the past, but you have got yourself clean of drugs for some time. You have been given an opportunity: don’t waste it.”
He imposed a 20-month jail term, suspended for two years, with a drug rehabilitation requirement, 100 hours of community service and victim surcharge of £100.
In one of the bedrooms they found a cannabis cultivation set-up with nine plants growing.
When Summerfield was questioned he said he was on benefits and had a drug habit costing him up to £30 a day, which he could not fund on state handouts. He said he had agreed to look after some of his dealer’s stock for a few days so he could not get caught with the drugs.
Prosecutors accepted his version as there was no evidence of direct dealing to users such as mobile phones containing messages, scales or unused wraps.
Summerfield, of Kemmerton Walk, Park South, admitted two counts of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and cultivating cannabis.
Rob Ross, defending, said his client had a history of drug abuse and got clean for a long time, but slipped back into addiction. He said: “Although he has tried to stop you have seen his record: he is a middle-aged man who slipped back again.”
Since his arrest he said he had again managed to get clean of drugs and returned to work as a bricklayer.
Summerfield was jailed for five years in Essex in 1995 for a number of offences including six counts of possessing drugs with intent to supply. In March 2000, at Swindon Crown Court, he received an 18-month jail term for supplying heroin.
Had he been convicted of three supply of class A drugs offences since 1997, he would face a mandatory seven year sentence unless it was deemed unjust.
But as Summerfield’s first one took place two years earlier it does not count, as it was before the change in the law.