Northern Ireland news

Belfast man who supplied diazepam to fund 'his own unfortunate addiction' is jailed

Laganside Court in Belfast

A 26-year-old Belfast man who admitted supplying diazepam to others to fund "his own unfortunate addiction" was jailed for a year.

Lee Whyte of Park Tower, had pleaded guilty to a total of six charges committed between March and August 2016, and in addition to supplying the Class C drug, also admitted offering to supply other Class A and B drugs, and to transfering criminal property.

Prosecution lawyer David McClean said Whyte was arrested as part of a much wider police investigation concerning others, "further up the chain", which unfortunately laid to a delay in dealing with his case.

However, Mr McClean said following his arrest, and at later interview, Whyte, readily admitted his involvement, which initially stemmed from buying diazepam for his own use, before supplying it to others for a profit to fund his own addiction. He also admitted sending monies through the post and to moving funds through his account for others.

A defence lawyer said at the time of these offences, his client was a man with a clear record and it was "quite clear, and accepted by the prosecution, his efforts were directed towards funding his own unfortunate addiction, which still persists".

Ordering that Whyte serves 12 months in custody, followed by a similar period on licence, Belfast Crown Court Judge Geoffrey Miller QC told him had he contested matters he would have imposed a sentence of four years.

However, given the circumstances of the case he would afford him maximum credit for his guilty pleas.

Judge Miller said drugs had been a feature in Whyte's life since his teenage years, and had become "increasingly problematic in recent times", and while this case had been hanging over his head for sometime, it had not stopped him committing further crimes since.

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