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Three years’ jail for troubled drug-dealer

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A DRUG dealer with a troubled background and a gambling problem has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Sean Liam Cooney. pic:States police

Sean Liam Cooney, of St Helier, pleaded guilty to eight charges – two counts of possession of cannabis resin, one count of possession with intent to supply, obstructing a police officer, malicious damage, using a vehicle without proper insurance and wrongful use of an insurance disc as well as possession of criminal property.

The Royal Court heard that the 25-year-old was found in possession of 46 bars of cannabis resin with a street value of between £67,500 and £90,000.

Outlining the case, Crown Advocate Conrad Yates said police attention was drawn to Cooney on 23 October after a member of the public told them that some men had been seen drinking and smoking drugs in a car parked at Samarès School.

Cooney admitted to officers that it was his car, but after noticing that his insurance was invalid, they told the defendant they would search the car, a blue BMW.

After telling the officers that no drugs would be found, the defendant turned and fled, Crown Advocate Yates said, jumping onto the roof of a nearby car to ‘launch himself over a wall and hedge’ around 10ft high, damaging the car in the process.

Officers searched the area for him to no avail. When the car was searched with the assistance of drugs dog ‘Jack’, two bars of cannabis resin were found and £670 in cash.

Another 24 bars of cannabis resin was discovered hidden in the car boot during later searches, as well as over £5,000 in cash in £50, £20 and £10 notes.

The police were unable to locate Cooney but three days later he turned himself in at police headquarters.

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Crown Advocate Yates said the Crown had accepted Cooney’s guilty pleas, which he gave on the basis he had been in possession of the drugs with intent to supply.

Cooney said he had been given the drugs by a person he knew through his personal use of cannabis and admitted he intended ‘to supply it in order to assist me financially due to my gambling habit and shoulder injury which resulted in me being out of work’.

He claimed the £670 was money he had made selling the drugs, but the £5,350 found belonged to someone else, although he suspected it was ‘illegitimate money’.

Advocate Chris Hillier, defending, said Cooney had had an unstable childhood, including some youth offending, but had no previous drugs convictions.

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‘This was not a sophisticated crime,’ Advocate Hillier said. ‘This is a young man who made poor choices and has taken responsibility for the those choices.’

He said that over the 135 days Cooney had already spent on remand, he had taken a range of courses through La Moye and intended to use his time there productively.

‘He is motivated not to repeat the mistakes of the past,’ he said, adding that Cooney had ‘gained insight into how his difficulties as a young man affected him’.

In announcing the sentencing of Cooney, Lieutenant Bailiff Anthony Olsen, who was sitting with Jurats Charles Blampied and Kim Averty, noted that the social inquiry report prepared before sentencing suggested the defendant appeared to be ‘the trusted associate of someone above him in the drug-dealing enterprise’.

However, he said the Jurats did exercise ‘a degree of mercy’ in not sentencing him to consecutive prison time on the charge of obstructing a police officer, making that sentence concurrent with those handed down on the other charges.

In total, Cooney was sentenced to three years in prison.

Tania Targett

By Tania Targett
Journalist

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