Four-year jail sentence for florist who smuggled drugs

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Mark Howe (49) was told that he could have been facing nine years in jail.

However, the Superior Number – which only convenes for
the most serious cases – decided that his early guilty plea, co-operation with the authorities, previous good character and efforts to stop using drugs were enough to reduce the jail term by more than half.

The Royal Court heard yesterday that between January 2018 and November last year, Howe imported 55 grams of methylamphetamine, generally known as crystal meth, and one gram of cocaine – both class A drugs.

There were also quantities of lower classified drugs such as cannabis.

He had carried some with him through the Airport, while others had been sent through the post in packages addressed to his home or business premises.

Crown Advocate Chris Baglin, prosecuting, said the police had found photos of drugs on Howe’s mobile phone.

‘He had been importing class A and class C drugs over a prolonged period. The phone evidence was extensive,’ he said.

But the advocate accepted that the drugs had been for Howe’s use only and that he was now ‘moving towards a more stable lifestyle’.

Advocate Mike Preston, defending, said: ‘This is an exceptional case and deserving of an individualised sentence. It is not a case typically seen by courts.’

He stressed that the drugs had been for Howe’s personal use, not for selling on. ‘His role in the drug trade was that of a consumer and that of a victim.’

He also pointed out that Howe had not only admitted the offences but that, ‘more importantly and more significantly, he actually co-operated at the very beginning’.

Advocate Preston added: ‘He is a man of previous good, if not outstanding, character. I would say that he is close to no risk of re-offending.’

The defence lawyer argued for community service, probation
and treatment orders rather than prison.

But Commissioner Sir William Bailhache, presiding, said a prison sentence was inevitable. Delivering the court’s sentence, Sir William said: ‘Because of the quantity of the drugs, nine years is the right starting point.’

However he said the court had agreed to reduce it to four, adding: ‘We have taken into account all the mitigations and we think you are entitled to credit for your early guilty plea.

‘We respect you for taking back control of your life.’

Jurats Collette Crill, Jerry Ramsden and Jane Ronge were sitting.

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