A Nuneaton man has been jailed for five years for coming to Jersey with two ‘Kinder Egg’ containers filled with cocaine concealed internally, as part of a bid to pay off debts built up through his own use of the Class A drug.
Joe Thomas Watts (28) was charged with one count of importing cocaine into Jersey after he was caught at the Harbour in October last year.
Watts pleaded ‘guilty’ to the offence at a previous hearing, and appeared in the Royal Court this morning to be sentenced before the Bailiff, presiding, and a panel of six Jurats who only assemble as the ‘Superior Number’ for the most serious of cases.
Pictured: The case came back to the Royal Court today for sentencing.
Crown Advocate Conrad Yates, appearing for the prosecution, summarised the incident for the Court, explaining that Watts had “travelled to the island as a foot passenger on the Condor Clipper out of Portsmouth” on 16 October 2018.
Despite initially claiming that he had come to Jersey “for two weeks to look for work”, it later emerged that Watts was smuggling cocaine into the island.
Watts was arrested and held overnight at the custody suite at the Harbour where he admitted “he had two packages concealed internally."
That morning, the 28-year-old “passed two condom-wrapped packages", and "inside the wrappings were ‘Kinder Egg’ containers” - the contents of which tested positive for cocaine.
Pictured: The Court heard that Joe Thomas Watts smuggled the 'Kinder egg' capsules containing the cocaine internally.
The Court heard that Watts had been tasked with bringing the drugs to the island and that he had obliged because he had “run up a debt of £1,470 by his own use of cocaine” and he saw the importation as a way of clearing this debt.
The Crown Advocate also told the Court that Watts had said in his Police interview that he saw the smuggling operation as “the only way out of it without it getting serious…”
Watts also told Police that: “I know I shouldn’t have done it, it’s my own fault… I take full responsibility for what’s happened.”
It was heard that the cocaine had a street value of between £2,200 to £2,800.
Pictured: The 28-year-old will serve five years in jail for his drug importation conviction.
Having summed up the case, Crown Advocate Yates advised that the Bailiff Sir William Bailhache and Jurats Blampied, Christensen, Dulake, Olsen, Pitman and Sparrow should impose a prison sentence of five-and-a-half years.
Advocate Michael Haines, representing Watts, argued that this recommendation was slightly too high and that given his client’s “employment record”, “cooperation”, “family support” and willingness to use his time in prison “constructively and purposefully”, that the Court should rather consider a sentence of five years’ imprisonment.
Ultimately, the Bailiff and Jurats agreed with the defence Advocate and, handing down this sentence, Sir William addressed Watts directly: “We noted with sadness that you took up cocaine when you were in custody in the UK… The Court expresses a hope that in serving your sentence over here you will beat your habit because by the time you are released you will still have your whole life ahead of you.”
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