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Drug dealer spared jail
Thursday, 28 June 2012
A WOMAN caught dealing Class A drugs in Southend has been spared jail by a judge who cited ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Dawn Johnston, 27, from Hercules Road, Lambeth, pleaded guilty to one count of supplying heroin and another count of supplying crack cocaine.
She was late to a hearing at Basildon Crown Court on Tuesday, June 19, after her barrister claimed she had been stuck on a bus whose doors would not open.
Dressed in white, she wept in the dock as the charges were read out.
Johnston was described as a ‘facilitator’ in the supply of drugs to an undercover officer called ‘Mandy’.
The officer was part of Operation RASP, which saw police officers pose as addicts in order to infiltrate the Southend drugs scene.
Johnston and her flatmate Terry Coogan, 23, formerly of Sherwood Way, put the officer in touch with what is thought to have been a Somali drugs gang, operating out of the Pennine flats on Southend’s Coleman Street.
She and Coogan accompanied the officer to the flats, where they pooled their money and Coogan collected the drugs.
At Coogan’s own sentencing in April this year, prosecutor Peter Gair said Coogan was ‘clearly acting for the drug dealers’.
Coogan was sentenced by Judge David Owen-Jones to two years in prison.
The same judge presided over Johnston’s sentencing last week.
After reading a pre-sentence report and a lengthy psychiatric report, the judge commented that Johnston had encountered ‘very substantial personal problems’ and suffered from ‘very unfortunate psychological issues’.
He said: “I regard this as a totally exceptional case.”
Johnston was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with a condition that she be supervised by probation for the duration of the two years.
On hearing the verdict, Johnston’s stepfather stood up and told the judge: “Thank you sir, for doing justice in this court today.”
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