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Cocaine importation leads to max community service penalty

Cocaine importation leads to max community service penalty

Monday 18 September 2023

Cocaine importation leads to max community service penalty

Monday 18 September 2023

A 43-year-old man who imported under six grams of cocaine for his birthday has been given a suspended sentence and community service, with the Royal Court extending “exceptional mercy” based on family circumstances.

Mark Kattenhorn pleaded guilty to a single count of importation but was spared prison because of his young child’s complex medical needs.

Prosecuting Advocate Sarah Watson told the court that a small white envelope destined for a St Peter Port address was identified by a customs dog in the early hours of 21 February at the post office. 

It was found to contain six individually wrapped bags of white powder attached to a card which read ‘party time’.  Tests later confirmed the powder to be 5.79 grams of cocaine.  

Customs officers then checked CCTV footage connected to the address which showed Kattenhorn twice checking post boxes at the property days earlier.  

A dummy package was created and delivered to the property that day, with Kattenhorn found leaving the area by officers in the afternoon.  

He immediately apologised and identified the package in his pocket before being arrested. 

Kattenhorn said in interview he had wanted to get something in to celebrate his birthday that weekend, the cocaine was solely for personal use, and that it was a “moment of stupidity”, according to Advocate Watson.   

The prosecution did not request a drug trafficking investigation but noted the quantity of cocaine had a maximum street value of over £800 locally. 


Pictured: Sentencing occured in the Royal Court.

Advocate Liam Roffey, defending, acknowledged the “serious charge” but asked the court to consider community-based penalties given Kattenhorn’s “unusual level of honesty” from the outset, and because of his care-giving role in the household. 

Positive letters of representation were read out, including from a doctor who praised his involvement with childcare, willingness to take advice, and that the coming years would be crucial for the child.

There was no evidence to suggest he was involved in any “commercial enterprise”, Advocate Roffey added.

Probation also found he had a low likelihood of reoffending and was not a risk to others.

Advocate Roffey called for “discretion and humanity” from the court through it not following usual sentencing guidelines.

Judge Russell Finch, sentencing, gave a starting point of seven years for the offence but said the court would extend “exceptional mercy” given Kattenhorns’ “very difficult personal circumstances”.

He said he was initially minded to impose a custodial sentence, especially considering his poor criminal record and the abuse of the postal system, but accepted that leniency was appropriate because of his child’s “very serious health problems”.

Kattenhorn was ordered to perform the maximum 240-hours of community service and made subject to a two-year prison sentence, suspended for three years. Forfeiture and destruction of the cocaine was also ordered.

Judge Finch said no precedent had been set based on this case and warned of the consequences of breaching a suspended sentence.

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