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Man jailed after 19 years on the run

Man jailed after 19 years on the run

Friday 16 March 2018

Man jailed after 19 years on the run

A man has been jailed, 19 years after he was initially charged, as he faced Guernsey's Royal Court on four historical drug-related charges.

Matthew Upson, 42, was facing one charge of supplying drugs - MDMA - and three charges of possession of drugs - cocaine, cannabis and temazepam - in 1998, which he pleaded guilty to at the time, before being released on conditional bail.

While on bail, Upson decided to leave the island, breaking his bail condition. He only returned at the end of last year.

Defence Advocate Ayres said while Upson was away from Guernsey he did not attempt to conceal his name and used his real identity - setting up his own plastering firm and attempting to live a relatively normal life. However as time passed "cracks began to appear". Upson faced tragedy when his brother committed suicide while in custody in Guernsey in 2004, on a drugs related charge and as more time passed, Upson's mental health deteriorated.

He decided to return to the island in August last year to be able to see his family in person again - something Advocate Ayres said had affected Upson during his time on the run. He also wanted to deal with both his depression and his drinking problems. It was described as a decision to "wipe the slate clean". He was arrested soon after his return.

When Upson was originally arrested in 1998, it was on suspicion of dealing drugs in Les Folies D'Amour nightclub. A security guard called the police after witnessing what he believed to be the act of selling. Upson was arrested in the toilets, where the officer saw a "powder-like substance on the floor", and a pack of tablets was found in his hand.

Initially, Upson said he was just looking after the tablets for another person while they were off island, but a police search of his property found a yellow bag with more than 100 of the same tablets that were on Upson's person when he was arrested along with 0.37g of cocaine, around 0.15g of cannabis and four temazepam tablets. There were also several neutral powders found at the property, which Upson later admitted to using to mix with the drugs to make capsules which he sold.

Knives were also found at the property, which the defendant said were used to cut drugs. A list of names was also found which was reportedly a record of people who owed Upson money.

At the time of the crime, the street value of the MDMA in Upson's possession was between £3,200 and £3,900, and while the street price has fallen today, Judge Russell Finch said it should be seen as the value it was at the time of the crime.

"We agree with the social enquiry report that sees your reason for possessing the drugs as an unlikely explanation. it does not help that you failed to attend court and a warrant had to be issued at the time of your intial arrest," Judge Finch said, adding: "You must have had not an easy time of it while you were off of the island."

For the selling charge, Upson was given four years in prison, and then he was given three months for each of the possession charges, all to be served concurrently with other charge, giving him a total of four years. 


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