A “small-scale” drug trafficker who tried to evade police and characterize his involvement as that of a courier was sentenced to a total sentence of two years on Friday.
Dismissing Brian Henry Johnston’s claims, Judge Patrick Kinney told the 31-year-old that his involvement was with commercial procurement and that he “committed these offenses with his eyes wide open to the consequences.”
The Belfast Crown Court judge said Johnston sought to downplay his role, he was convinced he knew exactly what he was doing, both with regard to “the supply of illegal drugs and his dangerous driving for escape the police “.
Justice Kinney added that Johnston was a small commercial dealer, that he was “nonetheless a vital cog in the machine that distributes drugs in our society” and that his offense called for an immediate prison sentence.
Johnston, of Kellburn Park, Doagh, who admitted to possession of cannabis with the intention of supplying the Class B drug on December 14, 2019, was also banned from driving for three years for dangerous driving while trying to escape the police.
In written submissions to the court, it emerged that Johnston’s car was seen making a “U-turn” as it approached a police checkpoint. Johnston then started off erratically and dangerously, cruising at speeds of up to 80 mph on narrow roads.
During the police chase, a package, which later contained a kilogram of cannabis, was thrown from the car in which £ 2,500 in banknotes was later found wrapped in a bag in the passenger seat. During a follow-up search of his home, a quantity of diazepam tablets were recovered. A troll on his cell phone also provided additional evidence of drug trafficking.
Johnston, who has been credited for his guilty pleas, will serve a sentence of 12 months in detention followed by a similar period of authorized parole under supervision.