SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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HMA v Jack Whittle

 

Oct 14, 2021

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 29 September Lady Poole sentenced Jack Whittle to imprisonment after the offender pled guilty to firearms offences, and to being concerned in the supply of cocaine and ecstasy.

On sentencing, Lady Poole made the following statement in Court:  

“Jack Whittle, on 17 June 2021 you plead guilty to firearms offences, and to being concerned in the supply of cocaine and ecstasy over a one month period.

You arranged to buy a Glock 17 pistol with 150 rounds of ammunition from the USA over the internet.  You had neither the necessary authority nor certificates to make these purchases. You paid in bitcoin, using funds from the sale of a motorbike. The pistol and ammunition you had bought were intercepted. The police searched your home and found cocaine, ecstasy, scales and £330 in cash. The ecstasy recovered had a street value of approximately £1500 (about 26g of paste and 50 tablets), and the cocaine found (about 33g) had a street value of approximately £3425. Further inquiries, including examination of your mobile phone, showed you were involved in selling drugs to acquaintances and making a profit from it. 

I have listened carefully to the submissions of your counsel in mitigation. I have taken all of the points advanced on your behalf into account in determining the appropriate disposal in your case. I have also taken into account the criminal justice social work report which I ordered.

You are 25 years old so you are still relatively young. You have a good history of employment, a supportive family, and at the time of your offending you were in a stable relationship. Your only previous convictions are for two offences of possession of cocaine and cannabis, in respect of which you were fined and admonished. You have never before been imprisoned. You plead guilty to the charges against you at an early stage and I give you credit for that.  

Nevertheless, these are serious offences. You deliberately bought a working pistol and ammunition for it, and arranged for these to be sent to your address, at a time you were dealing in Class A drugs. Planning was required to obtain bitcoin and make these purchases. Firearms are controlled in this country because they are dangerous weapons which are capable of causing serious injury and death. Possession of a firearm may result in that firearm going into circulation with all of the attendant dangers that may give rise to. You were also involved in drug dealing. I take into account the weight and value of drugs found in your house, and that these amounts are not as high as some other cases before this court. Nevertheless, they were Class A drugs and you have plead guilty to being concerned in the supply of those drugs over a one month period.  Drugs wreck lives, blight communities where drugs take hold, and cause misery and deprivation in society. Although you have not previously been the subject of a custodial sentence, given the nature and seriousness of the crimes of which you have been convicted, no other method of dealing with you is appropriate.

In respect of the firearms offences, in determining the sentence in respect of charge 1, I have had particular regard to the type of weapon you purchased, and that it was being sent along with ammunition to an address where you were dealing in drugs, as well as your relatively light record of previous convictions. Despite the submissions made on your behalf, I do not consider that in this case there are any exceptional circumstances relating to your offence or you which justify a departure from Parliament’s policy of a minimum term to send out a deterrent message. I sentence you to 5 years imprisonment on charge 1, reduced to the statutory minimum period from a headline sentence of 6 years for your early guilty plea. On charge 2, I sentence you to 16 months imprisonment, reduced from 2 years given your early plea of guilty, to be served concurrently with the sentence I have imposed on charge 1. 

In respect of charges 3 and 4, the drug dealing charges, I impose a cumulo sentence of a period of 16 months imprisonment, reduced from a headline sentence of 2 years due to your early guilty plea. This sentence will be served consecutively to the sentence imposed in respect of charges 1 and 2. 

Your sentence will be backdated to 19 February 2021 when you were first remanded in custody.”

29 September 2021