Published: 00:01, 02 January 2018
A teenager caught dealing Class A drugs at a music event has been spared custody after a judge said there were good reasons for believing he could be rehabilitated.
Joshua Fenton went to The Winter Social Festival featuring DJs at the showground at Detling, Maidstone, on March 3 intending to supply ecstasy.
But he was rumbled when a security officer became suspicious of him while in the toilets in the VIP area.
The officer looked over the top of a cubicle and saw the 19-year-old charity worker concealing something down the front of his trousers.
He was detained and found to have 31 wraps of the drug as well as alprazolam, Maidstone Crown Court was told.
Police went to his home in Cannock Drive, Maidstone, four days later and more ecstasy, said to be for personal use, was seized from a safe.
Fenton admitted two offences of possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply and one of possessing a Class C drug.
John Fitzgerald, defending, said it appeared to be “a standard every day drug-dealing case” with a custody starting point of four-and-half years.
But he added: “This is, in my submission, an exceptional case.”
His offending, he said, was directly linked to an ordeal suffered by him when young which caused him great distress.
“Class A drugs, destructive as they are, can in the short term provide the user with a high and make them feel good,” said Mr Fitzgerald.
“Class A drugs made him feel good for a bit.
“He couldn’t afford it. He sold it to make ends meet. He felt guilty about the life he was leading. He made an attempt on his life.”
Mr Fitzgerald submitted the case was so exceptional that sentencing guidelines need not be rigidly applied, adding: “There is no risk of reconviction or repetition. He has stopped taking drugs.
“He is having therapy with a counsellor. He is doing something about his difficulties.”
Judge Adele Williams told Fenton those who supply Class A drugs normally always got to prison.
But she added: “I am not going to send you to custody because I think there are very good reasons why you committed these offences.
“There is good reason to suggest you are capable of rehabilitating yourself, but make no mistake about it, you are in a situation which can go one of two ways.”
Fenton was sentenced to two years youth custody suspended for two years with 120 hours unpaid work.
“This offending can be the start of a downward spiral which leads to you committing further offences and ending up in custody for longer periods, or it could be you committed these offences in a particular way and at a particular time in your life, and you could put that behind you and make a completely fresh start.
“The choice of those two paths is entirely with you. You must work really hard to ensure you take the right course.”
The judge said she had read psychiatric and pre-sentence reports on Fenton and she was impressed he had a new job and had sought help.
“But make no mistake about it this was serious offending and the quantity of drugs was not insubstantial,” she added.
Fenton was ordered to pay £600 costs.
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