A 'tourist', who claimed he forgot about almost £250,000 worth of cannabis stashed in his mum-in-law’s car when he came to Jersey for a family holiday, has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.
Gary Patrick Hillier Smith (37) yesterday appeared in the Royal Court for sentencing after he was caught with the "commercial importation" - 12kg of cannabis resin and 20 small bottles of anabolic steroids - when he arrived in Jersey with his young family to visit the Boat Show.
Crown Advocate Conrad Yates, appearing for the prosecution, told the Court that Smith was apprehended by a Customs Officer after travelling with his partner to Jersey from Poole on the Condor Liberation on 5 May.
Pictured: Smith arrived in Jersey with his young family on the Condor Liberation.
The couple said they were planning on “visiting the Boat Show the following day and that they were staying at the Hotel Normandie overnight.” Their child was with them in the car.
A search of the car uncovered “vacuum-wrapped packages of drugs” stashed in the door panels.
The Court heard that the vehicle belonged to Smith's partner's mother and the Crown Advocate understood that the car was loaned out to her as part of an arrangement "given to those who require access to transport as a sort of benefit."
Pictured: It's understood that the car was loaned out to Smith's mother-in-law because she requires access to transport.
At the time, Smith told officers that his partner knew nothing about the drugs stashed in her mother's car. Admitting that he “should have taken it out”, the 37-year-old insisted that he “wasn’t smuggling it.”
The account was not accepted by the Crown Advocate, who characterised the smuggling as a “commercial importation” that was “destined for the local market.”
Describing the defendant as someone with “an unenviable record”, the prosecutor said Smith was “motivated by a desire for financial gain” and had attempted to organise the sale of the drugs “in order to discharge his debts.”
The Crown Advocate subsequently recommended a sentence of four years.
Representing Smith, Advocate James Bell offered his client’s apology for the "serious error of judgment”, adding that he accepted that he'd be facing jail for the offence.
Advocate Bell added that Smith “does sincerely regret his actions” both in terms of “the impact on the island” and “those he holds dear to him.”
Pictured: Smith was jailed for the offences.
The defence lawyer emphasised that Smith has been diagnosed with a mental health issue and was “not well" when he committed the crime. He told the Court that since being at HMP La Moye, Smith has had his medication changed and is now “clear-headed once again.”
Advocate Bell said Smith was also overcome with worry about “his partner’s financial predicament”, and that he had only become involved in the "enterprise" to discharge both of their debts.
Handing down the Court’s decision, the Bailiff - sitting with Jurats Grime, Averty, Olsen, Ronge and Dulake - remarked that “it does not appear to us that the defendant has much credibility” and they found that Smith was “distancing himself from a commercial organisation of this enterprise.”
Smith was then sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.
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