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Man jailed for dangerous driving and importing cocaine

Man jailed for dangerous driving and importing cocaine

Wednesday 05 May 2021

Man jailed for dangerous driving and importing cocaine

It was proclaimed to be a "miracle" that no one was seriously hurt after a drink driver - who was on bail for drug offences - drove up Le Val de Terres on the wrong side of the road, leading a police officer on a frantic pursuit.

Pip Orchard, 29, was sentenced to two years, six months for importing just under 3g of cocaine and six months for dangerous driving in the Royal Court yesterday.

Custom officers at the Envoy House Post Office investigated a package addressed to a woman - which turned out to be a decoy identity - on 18 August 2020. Upon further examination, they found that it contained 2.95g of cocaine, a Class A drug. 

One week later, another package addressed to a decoy identity was investigated and was found to contain 15 Class C alprazolam tablets. Answering a missed delivery note, Orchard turned up on 28 August asking to collect one of the parcels on behalf of the addressee. 

He went back the next day, at which point he was informed of the drug seizure, arrested, cautioned and bailed after paperwork linked Orchard to the importations.

post office

Pictured: Shortly afterwards, a package containing another blister pack of 15 alprazolam tablets arrived at Envoy House and was confiscated. This package was ordered by Orchard two days before his arrest. 

The Prosecution said Orchard had knowledge of the building he had listed as the delivery address and had used it to order the drugs under false identities. 

While on bail, Orchard was spotted on 5 December by a police officer carrying out drink drive checks along the South Esplanade. It was around 01:00 when the officer saw the defendant's silver Ford Fiesta driving past him on the wrong side of the road, in the direction of Le Val de Terres. 

The officer followed Orchard and came across the Fiesta stopped along the wrong side of the road, with another car and two pedestrians on the footpath. When the officer activated the blue lights on their vehicle, Orchard drove off, regularly veering violently into the wrong side of the road.

Dashcam footage showed a taxi taking evasive action to avoid a head-on collision with Orchard's Fiesta, which then narrowly missed another taxi after driving along the wrong side of the road at the top of Le Val de Terres, ignoring the 'keep left' bollards. 

The police officer continued to pursue and signal for Orchard to stop for around five minutes before Orchard’s vehicle hit an earth bank while attempting a right turn and came to a stop. Orchard tried to run away, but the policeman apprehended him and used pava spray to bring him under control. 

The Court heard that he had drunk 5-6 pints that evening and had no recollection of even getting in the car, which was not his. 


Pictured: Orchard's sentencing hearing took place in the Royal Court yesterday. 

Orchard was bailed again with conditions not to drink alcohol, but was remanded in custody on 14 December - where he has been ever since - after breaching that bail condition. 

Defence Advocate Liam Roffey said Orchard’s story was one of “great sadness”. He described a "genuinely good and decent person" who had experienced significant mental health challenges.

"For 29 years he lived an utterly commendable life - his work was dedicated to those who needed his care."

As well as his work as a paediatric nurse in Guernsey, Orchard had volunteered at refugee camps at Calais and Greece in 2017 and 2018, where he had some harrowing experiences.

"No matter your strength of character, experiences such as those come at an emotional cost," said Advocate Roffey. 

Those mental health challenges were exacerbated in February 2019 following an event that was not read out in open court. His personal problems worsened and he was diagnosed with PTSD while in rehab for his alcohol addiction.  

The Court was told that he relapsed in June 2020 and went online to find medication that he believed would take away the cravings. 

"He went from being a high-functioning paediatric nurse, to a man truly devastated, crushed and utterly reliant on alcohol," said Advocate Roffey. 

"Mr Orchard has contributed more to society than many do in their lifetimes and he has gone through more than most people would wish upon their worst enemy." 

Police Station Law Enforcement

Pictured: Orchard produced a reading of 80mcg in 100ml of breath at the police station, more than twice the legal limit of 35 mcg. 

After a lengthy deliberation, Judge Catherine Fooks reflected upon the many positive character references that Orchard received, which said his reported actions were out of character, but did not seek to excuse his conduct.

"In our view you have been knocked off the rails and could not find your way back," she told Orchard in sentencing. 

Despite that, Judge Fooks said Orchard had showed “a total disregard for the safety of others”, particularly in the dangerous driving incident. 

The Royal Court is bound by sentencing guidelines for drug importations, she added, as she set the starting point for sentencing at seven years for the cocaine importation.

This was reduced down to a two-and-a-half year sentence after mitigation, with concurrent six month sentences for each importation of alprazolam tablets.

Orchard was then issued with a six-month consecutive sentence for dangerous driving, and a concurrent six-month sentence for drink driving. 

Pictured top: Orchard was sentenced to a total of three years in prison in Guernsey's Royal Court, backdated to 14 December 2020. 

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