Dealer is caught with £50,000 of cocaine, crystal meth, cannabis and ecstasy... and judge frees him
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:03 AM on 31st March 2011
- Judge rules Colin MacDonald's case 'exceptional'
Lenient: Judge Stephen Holt described Colin MacDonald's case as 'exceptional'
A drug dealer caught with a massive haul worth £50,000 has been spared jail by a judge.
Colin MacDonald was found with the stash of class-A drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, three bin bags of cannabis and deadly crystal meth when police raided his home.
But Judge Stephen Holt provoked fury by giving the 34-year-old a 12-month suspended sentence, allowing him to walk free from court.
The soft sentencing came just 24 hours after new guidelines recommended drug dealers could escape jail even if they were selling heroin.
MacDonald, of Dollis Hill, North London, had 90g of crystal meth, 90g of cocaine, 100 ecstasy pills, 85g of amphetamine and three bin bags full of cannabis. He admitted five counts of possession with intent to supply drugs when he faced Harrow Crown Court on Tuesday.
In an astonishing ruling Judge Holt said MacDonald was an ‘exceptional’ case as he had started taking drugs following a family tragedy, had admitted his guilt and been on a successful rehab programme. He said the dealer, originally from South Africa, simply ‘sometimes sold drugs at cost price to other users’.
But a source close to the case declared: ‘MacDonald put his hands up early but no-one was expecting him to walk out of court.
‘This is the kind of sentencing that is hugely demoralising to police and other authorities trying to win the war on drugs.’
He called the judge’s ruling ‘absurd’ and said: ‘Investigators were in no doubt MacDonald was dealing in a significant way.’
On Monday a panel of judges recommended non-custodial sentences for ‘low level’ dealing, including up to 50g of heroin or cocaine or 100 ecstasy tablets.
They said this would enable the courts to concentrate on the biggest producers and suppliers.
Critics say the Sentencing Council proposals send the wrong message to criminals.
There are also fears the plans would reward those who show remorse for their crimes.
Tory MP James Clappison said: ‘Anyone involved in the drug trade should face a custodial sentence and they should know they face a custodial sentence.
‘The idea you can supply 99 people with ecstasy and be described as a minor participant is boggling. Nobody is going to put their hands up in court and say “I’m Mr Big”.’
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer said of MacDonald’s sentence: ‘It sets a dangerous precedent.’
Pauline Holcroft, the mother of Rachel Whitear, who died of a heroin overdose when she was 21, said: ‘Surely letting dealers off with a community order sends out completely the wrong message.
‘There’s an awful lot of damage that can be done with 49.9g of heroin. Rachel died for a £10 fix.
‘These people obviously have drugs to sell them on. They are passing on misery to countless families.’
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Judge frees dealer caught with £50k of cocaine, srystal meth, cannabis and ecstasy | Mail Online