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Prison drug smuggle attempt leads to further time

Prison drug smuggle attempt leads to further time

Friday 16 April 2021

Prison drug smuggle attempt leads to further time

A 38-year-old's prison sentence has been extended after he was caught attempting to smuggle drugs into Les Nicolles.

Richard Clarke, 38, was sentenced to three years and nine months from January 2019 for possession of cannabis. After his early release last year he was recalled after breaching probation and on admission to Les Nicolles he was suspected of concealing drugs.

Clarke was assessed and kept under watch. After passing a bowel movement, police found two packages, one contained a Buprenorphine pill - a painkiller - and the other contained three plastic bottles of synthetic cannabis.

Crown Advocate Chris Dunford took a moment in proceedings to explain what MDMB-4 is to Judge Graeme McKerrell. He said it’s a synthetic cannabinoid liquid considered a class B drug, that’s smoked through a vape. It can be diluted, so the three small bottles found on Clarke could be used to make much more.

Additionally, it was found that Clarke had actually been prescribed Buprenorphine by the prison doctor after being recalled to prison. Judge McKerrell was concerned the extra medication could amount to an intent to supply when on the inside. 


Pictures: Synthetic cannabis vapes are becoming more commonplace.

Advocate Sam Steel laid out an extensive defence of Clarke, starting with his drug history being “intrinsically linked" to a traumatic childhood and Clarke’s mental health problems.

Advocate Steele said Clarke was concerned about withdrawing from painkillers in prison, and did not know that Buprenorphine could be an illegal substance. 

Judge McKerrell spent a long time considering all the mitigation, including a letter written directly to him, and paid particular attention to Clarke’s difficult and painful upbringing.

“You have a very poor record,” he conceded. “You have the record of a habitual criminal. I cannot justify probation because the drugs you were trying to bring into the prison amounted to increasing the stock of illegal prison drugs available."

Clarke was charged with three months concurrent for each charge of concealment and handed a probation order of two years. His sentence has been added onto the recall sentence he is already serving. 

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