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Judge says he had no choice but to imprison man who smuggled cannabis into jail

A JUDGE told a Doncaster court he did not like jailing a man for smuggling drugs into a prison for his first case of 2010 – but he had no choice.

cannabis judge prisonAfter sentencing the 21-year-old to six months inside for his first offence, Recorder Peter Kelson, QC, told his barrister: “It’s not a comfortable way to start the new year, to be honest.”

Recorder Kelson said the Court of Appeal had made it clear that deterrent sentences had to be imposed in cases where people have taken drugs into prisons.

Defence counsel for Lloyd Donovan Reid had argued there were exceptional circumstances to his case and society would be better served by him doing community payback rather than wasting taxpayers’ money in a jail cell.

Reid, who is unemployed, pleaded guilty to supplying and possessing cannabis during a visit to see a friend at HMP Lindholme in August.

Prosecutor Brian Outhwaite said a CCTV operator spotted Reid offering inmate Calvin Cross a packet of crisps. When it was checked it was found to contain a wrap of cannabis weighing almost 5g.

When his car was searched by a sniffer dog, police found another small amount of cannabis and £500 in cash, which was confiscated by the court for the South Yorkshire Crimefighting Fund.

Mr Outhwaite said Reid, of Warrenfield Court, Deighton, Huddersfield, had no convictions and only one caution for drugs possession.

Adam Birkby, defending, argued there were exceptional circumstances to his case because it was only a small amount of drugs for one prisoner and it was not going to be resold inside Lindholme. He added: “He rather foolishly thought he was doing a favour for a friend who was at a low point. He accepts full responsibility and accepts keeping the wrong company has led him into trouble. This is the first and last time he will appear before the court.”

Recorder Kelson said he could not avoid a custodial sentence and female members of Reid’s family wept as he was taken down to the cells.