Darren Leon Spencer Dorrington – who in his early career fought Joe Calzaghe, who is considered to be one of the finest British boxers in history, in an Amateur Boxing Association of England final – concealed the class A drug internally. He had brought it into the Island to pay off ‘significant gambling debts’, the Royal Court heard yesterday.
The 49-year-old, who was stopped by Customs officers when he arrived at the Airport from Bristol at about 6 pm on 16 February, told them he had flown to Jersey to look for work as a carpenter.
His bag was searched and no prohibited items were found. However, swabs of the holdall and his wallet gave positive indications of the presence of cocaine, the Superior Number – which only convenes for the most serious of cases – was told.
Dorrington – who last year set himself a target of hitting a punchbag a million times in 50 days to raise money for a Bristol hospice – underwent a body search and a bag containing 57.04g of white powder was found. Analysis of the powder found that it contained 30 per cent cocaine and that it had a street value of up to £5,700.
Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit said: ‘In interview when asked about his finances, the defendant stated that he had no formal employment, was not in receipt of any state benefit but earned some cash as a freelance boxing trainer.
‘He stated that he had run up significant gambling debts with persons he declined to name and that these persons had asked him to deliver a package of drugs to Jersey, in return for which they would “knock something off the bill”.’
Dorrington told officers that he was expecting someone to pick him up from the Airport but that he did not know who.
The defendant, who pleaded guilty to importing cocaine, had 15 previous offences but none that related to drugs charges, the court was told.
Advocate Adam Harrison, defending, said his client was remorseful and wished to offer his apologies to the court.
He added that Dorrington had struggled to find suitable work in the construction industry after he developed arthritis as a legacy from his boxing career and as he had not wanted to take benefits he had begun to borrow money from someone he trained. In total Dorrington borrowed approximately £5,000 and, unable to pay it back, he saw the opportunity of smuggling the drugs as a way to repay his debt.
Advocate Harrison added that Dorrington deserved mitigation for the charity work he has undertaken.
‘A significant factor that has not been taken into account is he has been involved in charitable endeavours by raising money and training disadvantaged children in the Bristol area,’ he said.
Sentencing Dorrington, Deputy Bailiff Tim Le Cocq said: ‘You were a courier and as such played a vital role in supplying drugs into Jersey. You do not appear to pay any regard to the effect of the cocaine on the people of Jersey.’
Jurats Collette Crill, Geoffrey Grime, Robert Christensen, Elizabeth Dulake and Robert Kerley were sitting.