Crown Advocate Richard Pedley, prosecuting, told the Superior Number of the Royal Court yesterday that 41-year-old David Lumb developed a cocaine habit in August 2018 ‘when his life reached rock bottom’.
While admitting Lumb was a cocaine user, Advocate Michael Haines, defending, said his client was not addicted and had used cocaine for only six months because of family difficulties.
The lawyer went on to say Lumb – who admitted importing the drug – had quit the habit and ‘vowed never to return’. He was ‘certainly not an organiser [of drugs] in any shape or form’, Advocate Haines added.
The advocate told the court that Lumb had always bought his drugs from only one dealer. When that dealer left the Island he offered to send drugs to Lumb in the post, the court was told.
To avoid detection, Lumb, who was renting a flat in St Saviour, had the package addressed to a nearby flat and to someone who no longer lived there. The post boxes for the flats were in a communal entrance.
On the morning of 8 March Lumb was seen entering the building and leaving about 20 seconds later with a package concealed down the front of his trousers and top. He then went to his own flat. Shortly after that, Lumb was seen throwing away papers into a communal bin. They were retrieved and found to be a jiffy bag and blank birthday cards. The address details had been torn from the envelope but were later recovered.
When the defendant’s phone was later analysed, a photo of a different envelope bearing the same address was recovered. Lumb’s fingerprints were also found on the post box, which had been forced open.
When Lumb was arrested, a small package of white powder was found in his trouser pocket. Although he initially told the police this was a legal substance used by some athletes to enhance their performance, it was later found to be 13.55g of cocaine with a purity of 28% and a street value of around £1,400.
The court was told about two-thirds of the consignment was for Lumb’s personal use, and that he intended sell the rest to help cover his costs. Lumb said he had used a false address so drug dealers would not know where he was living.
The court was told Lumb had come to Jersey in February to work for Jersey Telecom. He was installing fibre-optic cables and, according to Advocate Haines, was well paid, one year earning more than £47,000.
Nevertheless, when the police arrested him, Lumb told them he was ‘skint’. The prosecution told the court an analysis of Lumb’s bank account showed he was an avid gambler. On one occasion he paid Sky Bet £2,000.
Advocate Haines admitted Lumb regularly placed ‘small bets’, but said his client had ‘broken even over the years’ and ‘was certainly not losing money’.
The prosecution called for a five-year prison sentence, but Advocate Haines argued this was far too high. He described the offence as a one-off that was out of character, describing his client as ‘a family man who had let down his family and friends’.
Passing the court’s sentence, the Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, said the case was clearly one of trafficking. He added it was made worse not only because Lumb had vandalised another person’s post box, but had ‘risked embroiling an innocent person in a drugs investigation’.
Jurats Jerry Ramsden, Rozanne Thomas and Robert Christensen were sitting.