Judge raps drug dealers' 'excuses' as he locks up pair caught in police sting

SENTENCING: Judge Roger Thomas QC.

SENTENCING: Judge Roger Thomas QC.

First published in News by , T&A Reporter

TWO men have been locked up for drug dealing in Shipley.

Dominic Simpson, of Belldon Road, Great Horton, and Grafton Harrison, of Canterbury Avenue, Canterbury, were arrested by plain clothes police officers who swooped on their hired vehicle in May.

Simpson, 23, who tried to escape by reversing the car, hit a lamppost and crashed into a parked vehicle, trapping the driver in the wreckage.

He was yesterday jailed for three and a half years for possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply, supplying the drug and dangerous driving. He was banned from driving for 12 months.

Harrison was sent to a young offenders institution for 32 months for possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply and supplying it.

The court heard that police officers on patrol in an unmarked car saw the defendants sell a wrap of crack cocaine to a known female addict in Crag Road, Windhill, at 11am on May 7.

A small number of wraps of the drug were found in the vehicle and Harrison's phone revealed calls relating to street dealing.

The court heard that Simpson had ten previous convictions for 26 offences, including dangerous driving and house burglary.

Harrison, 19, had a conviction for possession of Class A drugs.

Ashok Khullar, solicitor advocate for Simpson, said he was supplying crack cocaine to fund his own addiction.

He often acted impulsively but he had worked as a labourer and tried to lead an honest and law abiding life.

Harrison's barrister, Emma Downing, said he was pressed into dealing crack cocaine for three days to pay off a cannabis debt.

"He is a very immature young man, perhaps exploited by others," she told the court.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, told the defendants that everyone in Bradford knew he had spent the last year sentencing those who sold drugs on the city's streets and yet they both chose to commit similar offences.

He urged street dealers not to come up with "a barrage of excuses" in court.

Judge Thomas criticised the widely used mitigation that a defendant was selling Class A drugs to "pay off a debt."

He said that line of defence was "falling on very deaf ears" after he had sentenced more than a hundred Bradford street dealers netted by the police's Operation Stalebank.

"The constant barrage of excuses doesn't find favour with me. People should just admit what they have done and say 'I am a drug user and I was selling it', Judge Thomas said.

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