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Brothers sentenced for "frustrating" drugs investigation

Brothers sentenced for

Friday 04 September 2020

Brothers sentenced for "frustrating" drugs investigation

Two brothers who chose not to give their phone pin codes to Guernsey Police during a cannabis investigation have been given custodial sentences, with one sent straight to prison.

Josh (23) and Tyler (18) Cowens' home address was searched in the early hours of 1 May.

While looking in the living room, officers came across a total of 91g of cannabis resin, spread out in a few different containers. They also seized £6,000 in cash, which was mostly split between the two brothers' bedrooms, with a small amount in the living room.

However, explanations were later given for the money, with Josh Cowens claiming he had recently sold a vehicle for cash while Tyler Cowens said he had withdrawn all the money as he "doesn't trust banks".

Their phones were seized but when asked to give their pin codes within seven days, both brothers refused and were charged with RIPL offences.

Royal Court

Pictured: The pair were sentenced in Guernsey's Magistrate's Court.

Neither of the defendants were charged in relation to the drugs. Although the cannabis charge was not pursued by the Crown Prosecutor, the Court ruled that the brothers had broken the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2003 during the investigation into those charges, by not disclosing the pin codes to their phones.

Advocate Sam Maindonald, who represented both of the brothers, described them as "hard-working" men with a "very supportive family".

They're both due to attend the College of Further Education in the upcoming term for trade apprenticeships, which their employers have paid for in advance, and Advocate Maindonald asked that the court take into account the impact an immediate custodial sentence could have on their employers' finances as a result.

She added that both brothers' actions had been "immature" but said they were working to turn their lives around.

"This offence is so serious that, quite often, it's sent to the Royal Court for sentencing," Judge Gary Perry told the older Cowens brother. "I imagine it's only your lack of previous convictions that has kept this matter in this court. But this court has to pass deterrent sentences."


Pictured: Josh Cowens was sent to prison for three months, while his younger brother got a suspended sentence. 

Josh Cowens was sentenced to three months in prison.

Meanwhile, Tyler Cowens was given a slightly lighter sentence, given the "exceptional circumstances" - most notably, his young age.

"As I said to your brother, the court treats these offences extremely seriously because they frustrate police investigations," Judge Perry explained to him. "Next time you need to think about the consequences of your actions, rather than just your views.

"But you are in a different position to your brother because you are a lot younger."

Tyler Cowens was sentenced to a suspended sentence of three months' youth detention, which he will have to serve if he commits another crime within the next 18 months.

Pictured top: Both brothers refused to give the pin code to their phones.

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