This week the court’s Superior Number, which only sits for the most serious cases, sentenced Jersey-born Zac Christopher Oeillet to three-and-a-half years in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of importing controlled drugs.
Oeillet, who was unemployed at the time, was first stopped at Jersey Airport on 17 December last year having returned to the Island with his wife from what the court heard had been a shopping trip to London.
When officers searched him they discovered a 186-milligram wrap of herbal cannabis, which he said he had forgotten about. As the quantity of the drug was relatively small, and for personal use, the case was dealt with at a parish hall inquiry.
But ten days later – on 27 December – Customs officers once again stopped Oeillet and his wife at the Airport, this time after returning from an apparent shopping trip to Oxford.
He denied having any illegal drugs in his possession. But swabs later found evidence of cocaine on his telephone and lighter, and traces of heroin and cocaine on his baggage.
The court heard that because he was then told he would be required to have a bowel movement, he drank and ate very little other than some ‘water, one croissant, part of a burger and some biscuits’. He was later taken to hospital complaining of chest pains, but was diagnosed with constipation. Oeillet was remanded in custody and declined food or drink on 27 occasions, refused to take laxatives on two occasions, or to use the toilet facilities.
Finally, on New Year’s Day, the court heard that he passed a white package which was found to contain fourteen pellet-sized wrappings, totalling 1.38 grams of heroin, with a purity of 53%.
Oeillet pleaded guilty to both offences in the Royal Court in March.
At this week’s sentencing, Crown Advocate Chris Baglin, prosecuting, urged the court to impose a three-and-half-year term.
Oeillet’s defence lawyer, however, argued that given only a relatively small amount of drugs was involved, that it was for personal use, and that he was not going to gain financially from importing them, a much shorter sentence of 15 to 18 months would be more appropriate. Advocate Lucy Marks, defending, said Oeillet’s actions had been ‘a one-off foolish mistake’.
Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae said Oeillet had been foolish not to take advantage of the chance given to him by the Centenier who had dealt with him following the first incident.
Mr MacRae also noted Oeillet ‘could not have been much more uncooperative than [he was]’, and the court agreed with the prosecution that he should go to prison for three-and-a-half years.
Because of procedural changes due to Covid-19, Oeillet appeared by video link from the prison at La Moye. Those changes also mean only three Jurats are necessary to constitute the Superior Number. The Deputy Bailiff was sitting with Jurats Anthony Olsen, Steven Austin-Vautier and Rozanne Thomas.