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Man jailed for importing cannabis

Man jailed for importing cannabis

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Man jailed for importing cannabis

A man who moved to Guernsey last year with plans to make the island his "forever home" is unlikely to be able to stay long-term after being sent to prison for importing cannabis.

Matthew E. Johnson has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for importing two 72g packages of cannabis earlier this year.

Bank statements investigated following his arrest showed that Johnson had paid £8,578 to an associate in the UK between March and May, initially claiming that he owed the man money for a van and a business loan. 

However, he went on to admit that a payment that went through on 28 May for £1,300 was payment for the two packages, which contained various different strains of cannabis. 

Johnson said he had no intention of supplying the drugs to anyone else and that he was simply "stocking up", as he had been smoking 2g per day for stress and pain relief. He had never attempted to import cannabis in the post before but had decided to do so because the local street price was "very expensive" and he didn't want to "pay a fortune" for it over here. 

post office

Pictured: Johnson imported cannabis using the postal system, which is always considered to be an "aggravating factor" by the Court. 

The drugs he had been caught with were analysed and he was found to be in possession of a total of 173.51g of cannabis. 

Defence Advocate Sam Steel represented Johnson, who had declined the services of an advocate earlier on in the proceedings. 

"He is well aware of just how seriously the court treats this type of offence," he said, as he described Johnson's drug importation as "the worst mistake he has ever made."

Advocate Steel said his client had started taking drugs when he was a teenager following a "tragic series of events" when he was just 15 years of age. 

A talented young footballer who was reportedly just three months away from representing one of England's youth teams at Wembley, Johnson saw his life collapse around him followed the death of loved ones. 

"He was poleaxed," said Advocate Steel. "He lost all ambition to do anything."


Pictured: Advocate Sam Steel represented Johnson - who had previously declined the services of an advocate - in his Royal Court sentencing. 

A friend of his had introduced him to cannabis and he became a "habitual user" over the years as he found the drug "helped him to sleep".

Having moved to the island last August, Johnson had hoped to make Guernsey his "forever home", however early talks with population management have indicated that he is highly unlikely to be allowed to stay given his conviction.

Advocate Steel implored the Royal Court to consider his client's "exceptional circumstances" and to give him another chance in the form of a suspended sentence. 

However, Judge Russell Finch said that course of action would be "inappropriate".

"Guernsey has no room for people who come over here and abuse its hospitality," the Judge said, as he sentenced Johnson to 21 months in prison. 

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