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Drug user 'pleased' with sentence

PUBLISHED: 14:35 17 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

"I WAS amazed I got off so lightly," an Ipswich drug user announced after he was sentenced for possessing more than a pound of cannabis.

Martin Healey of Sirdar Road, spoke to Ipswich Crown Court reporter Helen Skene after he was told to do 40 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £75 towards prosecution costs.

"I WAS amazed I got off so lightly," an Ipswich drug user announced after he was sentenced for possessing more than a pound of cannabis.

Martin Healey of Sirdar Road, spoke to Ipswich Crown Court reporter Helen Skene after he was told to do 40 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £75 towards prosecution costs.

Healey, 25, confessed he had even smoked a joint during the court's lunchtime adjournment while Mr Recorder Rex Bryan was deciding his fate.

He said: "I have a smoke at dinner time. I told them (probation) I would not stop. When you have been smoking as long as me it's hard to stop.

"When I realised it was a part-time judge I was well pleased. I expected 240 hours community service and £250 costs."

Andrew Shaw prosecuting said police had raided a house in Sirdar Road, which belonged to Healey's co-defendant Darren Riseborough, also 25.

Riseborough pleaded guilty to possessing a quantity of cannabis and to possession with intent to supply the drug socially to friends and to socially supplying cannabis.

Healey pleaded guilty to possessing two nine-ounce bars of cannabis valued at up to £500.

Peter Wain mitigating for Healey said his client used to work but had stopped to look after his friend Riseborough who had attempted suicide. "He had been coming and going from the house when the house was subjected to a search by police," said Mr Wain.

"He was concerned that if he got a job he would lose it because of this court case and any publicity."

Mr Wain said Healey was a heavy cannabis user and had a "high tolerance to the drug". He added that Healey would now look for work, had no previous convictions, had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had recently done his public duty by giving evidence against a man charged with aggravated burglary.

Mr Bryan ordered that all the drugs and Riseborough's drugs paraphernalia, including scales, grinder and a knife be forfeited and destroyed.

He said to Healey: "You could well have been prosecuted for possession with intent to supply and if the Crown's case continued you could have been convicted because the quantity was quite large as far as possession is concerned.

"It seems to me however laudable your reasons were for stopping work the reasons have now run out and it's better that you get back into the work ethic so I will make a community punishment order."

Riseborough was released from court on unconditional bail until July 11, when he is due to be sentenced.

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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