TWO young men, including a well known amateur footballer, escaped immediate imprisonment today (FRIDAY) after they admitted supplying cocaine, a class A drug.
Judge Philip Hughes, sitting at Mold Crown Court, told them that they had become within a whisker of going into custody for a number of years.
He conceded that they were lucky enough to receive “an extremely lenient sentence.”
Defendants Dale Lee, said in court to play football at a very high level for Rhyl and Prestayn, and Samuel Warhurst, both admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply in February of this year.
Lee, 21, of Grove Park Avenue in Rhyl, and Warhurst, 20, of Lower Foel Road in Dyserth, received two year prison sentences suspended for 18 months.
They were each ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work with supervision and they were placed on a drugs rehabilitation order with monthly reviews by a crown court judge.
The defendants were told that the starting point for such offending was four years and that the sentence range was three and a half years to seven.
But Judge Hughes said that he intended to depart from the sentencing guidelines and did so “quite deliberately”.
If he imposed immediate custody their lives would be ruined, he said.
Both had since received counselling to tackle their drug problems and the judge said that the progress they had made would be completely undermined if they were sent into custody at this stage.
“That would be no good for you and no good for the public at large,” the judge explained.
“This kind of offending attracts sentences normally measured in years.
“You are very lucky that you are not going to serve sentences measured in years today.”
They were young men of good character who had pleaded guilty at a preliminary stage.
“You both need to understand that you have come within a whisker of being sent to prison for many years today.”
Prosecuting barrister Karl Scholz told how the two men drove into a car park in Rhyl on the afternoon of February 28 and went to park up in a corner.
Police were suspicious, they found cocaine in the vehicle and also at their respective homes – a total of 11 grammes.
But text messages on their mobile phones showed how they had been involved in the supply of cocaine.
He read text messages which included some received from customers on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Jason Smith, for Warhurst said that it was tragic to see such a young man in court – it was a sad and tragic path he had taken which was familiar to the court.
He was an intelligent young man in a good job who had since his arrest received counselling.
“He has sought help with the very real drug problem that caused him to become involved in this offending,” he said.
Simon Mintz, for Lee, said: “This is a young man who plays football at a high level for Rhyl and Prestatyn.”
He was described as caring and sensitive, supportive of other children, who worked as an assembly engineer.
The defendant had an excellent work ethic and was full of remorse and shame.