Judge slams 'unacceptable' three-and-a-half year court delay
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A judge has criticised the "totally unacceptable" court delay of nearly three-and-a-half years in the case of a 22-year-old Essex man on drugs charges.
Bailey Short, of Back Lane East, Great Bromley, near Colchester, appeared for sentence at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday for possessing cocaine, possessing cannabis, being concerned in the supply of drugs and possession of a Taser.
Judge Samantha Leigh called the delay "completely unjustified" and added that the "pandemic cannot be blamed for that".
Officers went to the home of Short on November 14, 2018, after a car was earlier seen with a possible firearm, Ipswich Crown Court heard on Wednesday.
After searching his address, officers found two phones - a Nokia and an iPhone - along with drug paraphernalia, herbal cannabis, £70 in cash and a Taser in a box.
The phones were analysed and the Nokia revealed drug dealing marketing texts, typical with a county lines operation, Lori Tucker, prosecuting, told the court.
Ms Tucker argued that Short held a "pivotal role" in the operation as the phone holder as the line could not operate without him.
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The court heard that the police were not able to get into the iPhone.
Short, who was just 18 at the time of the offences, previously pleaded guilty to the four charges.
Judge Leigh sentenced Short to 24 months' imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, with 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
The judge also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and cash seized.