Judge criticises police after cannabis dealing case takes years to reach court


A Derby judge has called it “unbelievable” that a cannabis dealing case has taken two-and-a-half years to finally come to court.

Brett Cooling was arrested in October 2017 when officers found two bags of the class B drug at his Derbyshire home.

It then took Derbyshire police a year to provide a statement as to precisely what they uncovered.

When that happened, they wrote to the now 34-year-old telling him he was going to be charged in a move that is referred to as a postal requisition.

Finally, in March 2020, he has been sentenced after admitting he was selling the drug to fund his own habit.

However, the prosecuting barrister had no answer as to why things had taken so long.

Judge Robert Egbuna said at Derby Crown Court: “It is unbelievable this has taken so long, although that is not a legal term.

“If I was sentencing you today for a more recent charge I would be sending you to prison because supplying cannabis in this quantity and over the period of time you were just cannot continue.

“But, because you were arrested in 2017 and almost three years have elapsed, I will suspend your sentence.

“It is one of 16 months, suspended for two years.”

Hal Ewing, prosecuting, said police went to Cooling’s address, in Model Village, Cresswell, on an unrelated matter in October 2017.

He said a search of the property uncovered two large bags of cannabis, two sets of electronic scales and a “large number” of clear, plastic dealer bags.

Mr Ewing said: “An iPhone was also seized and the defendant was interviewed in relation to these matters.

“He said the drugs were his and for personal use as he has various anxiety issues.

“He went on to say the phone was one he had been given by his drugs supplier.”

Mr Ewing said the drugs that were seized would have made an estimated £710 if sold in small deals.

He added that analysis of the iPhone found “a large number of messages” from people requesting cannabis in deals ranging from 1g to a quarter of an ounce dating back almost six months.

Mr Ewisn said: “He admitted that the cannabis he was using was profits from selling to a small number of people and was funding his own habit.

“There is profit being made but that is being recycled for his own use and supply.”

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Cooling pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis.

He has one previous conviction, for criminal damage, and none for any drugs matters.

Nicoleta Alistari, mitigating, said the offence was almost three years old and that the delay was not the fault of her client.

She said he suffers a number of mental health problems and provided letters from the medical teams which have been treating him.





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