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'Don't play role of pharmacist' - judge tells man in tragic drugs case

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AN Islander who gave his best friend a class-A drug used as a painkiller just hours before the man died has been sentenced by a judge who warned against playing the ‘role of pharmacist’.

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Luis Manuel Rodrigues Calaca (49), of Val Plaisant, gave two oxycodene tablets to Ryan Edward Munro, who died the next day.

Although they are widely prescribed as painkillers they are defined in law as class-A controlled drugs.

The Magistrate’s Court heard that Calaca was in Mr Munro’s flat in York Street when the police arrived on the morning of 24 April and initially the death was investigated as suspicious.

However, following a post-mortem examination by a Home Office pathologist and the production of toxicology reports, it was concluded that the drugs given to Mr Munro by the defendant did not contribute to his death.

The defendant was sentenced to a one-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months after he pleaded guilty to supplying a class-A drug between 23 and 24 April.

Advocate Sarah Dale, defending, said that her client had been prescribed the drugs by his doctor and had only given them to Mr Munro as he asked for help to reduce pain in his toe.

She said that the defendant and Mr Munro were like ‘brothers’ and he had done it ‘with the best of intentions’. The advocate added that it had weighed heavily on the defendant’s mind and it had been ‘a very distressing time’ for Calaca.

In sentencing, Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris said: ‘The message has to be sent out that if you are prescribed class-A drugs, then you cannot give them to others. Clearly it is not for members of the public to take on the role of pharmacist.’

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Police legal adviser Advocate Carla Carvalho said that the post-mortem examination showed that nothing done by Calaca had contributed to Mr Munro’s death and that the charge only related to the 300 mg of oxycodene.

When questioned in Mr Munro’s flat, the defendant told the police that he had given the deceased ‘two pregabalin and two morphine tablets’ the previous night to help him with a toe injury.

He told officers: ‘The medication I gave him was not enough to kill him.’

The court heard that the pregabalin was not a controlled drug and that the ‘morphine’ was only a description used by Calaca.

The Assistant Magistrate told Calaca that if he had wished to help a friend get pain relief, he should have taken him to the Emergency Department.

In imposing the suspended sentence, Mr Harris said: ‘It is apparent that what you did did not harm Mr Munro. I could send you to prison but I do not want to do that. If you keep out of trouble for the next 12 months, it will go away.’

Richard Heath

By Richard Heath
author

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