A 20-year-old Gloucester man caught peddling hard drugs in the city for a second time while armed with a carving knife in the waistband of his trousers was jailed for just over three years yesterday (Tuesday).
Ackeen Wright, of Deans Way, Gloucester, pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court to possessing crack cocaine, a class A drug, with intent to supply on January 23 this year.
He also admitted having a large kitchen knife in public on the same date.
Prosecutor Ken Bell told Judge Jason Taylor QC that Wright was stopped by police in an alleyway just off St Mary’s Square in the city centre.
“He smelt strongly of cannabis, had a mobile phone in one hand and a joint in the other,” Mr Bell said.
Wright resisted being searched by the police and struggled before being taken to the ground.
He was found to be in possession of 15 wraps of crack cocaine worth £150. The purity of the drug was 79 per cent.
Mr Bell said that Wright also had a ‘large carving knife’ tucked in the waistband of his trousers and £15 in cash.
The court heard that Wright had one previous conviction for conspiracy to supply heroin in 2016.
“He will say an injury to his hand was caused by men that were technically pressuring him,” Mr Bell said.
Defence lawyer, Sarah Jenkins, representing Wright, said that was correct.
“The whole point of the basis of his plea is the feature of lesser role, engaged by pressure or intimidation,” she said.
She argued that in his previous drug offence Wright had been ‘close to the bottom of that ladder’.
“He served a sentence but has found it difficult to step away from those influences.
“Plainly despite the fact he has had the involvement, he did not know how to deal with this.
She said: “He is not sophisticated enough to distance himself from those that use violence.”
“He does too,” the judge retorted, “he decided to arm himself with a knife.”
“He has written a letter expressing his regret,” Mrs Jenkins continued.
“With young men who make the mistake of involving themselves in the situation, it is hard to remove them.
“People are still trying to contact him through his girlfriend. The police are supporting her.
“It is not a hopeless case for him. He has reflected during his time in custody. He has support of family.
“He hopes to move himself away from Gloucester.”
Judge Taylor said: “If he does it again he faces a mandatory minimum of five years.”
Imposing a three-year jail term for the drug offences with two months consecutive for the knife, he told Wright: “Essentially you admit dealing drugs on behalf of others in circumstances that fall short of duress.
“You say this arose having been attacked by other associates with a knife. Due to the fear you have become a street dealer.
“You have accepted your own guilt.
“No one forced you to carry a knife, that alone was your choice.
“This is not the first time you have been in trouble. There is a significant previous conviction when 18, which is a highly aggravating feature.
“You are still a young man. I am encouraged you have the support of your family members and your girlfriend.
“You need to understand that if you come back for a similar offence you will face a five year sentence.
“You need to put into practice the sentiment you have expressed in your letter.
“Use the support of your family,” the judge concluded.
Back to: UK News