Belfast Telegraph

I'm losing my patience with you, judge warns serial drug offender

By Staff Reporter

A judge has warned he is running out of patience with a persistent offender, whom a court was told needs "a road to Damascus" conversion to prevent another decade of his life being destroyed by the scourge of drugs.

During a sentencing hearing for Gary Hutchinson, funds from drug dealing seized in a police search were ordered to be donated to charity.

Hutchinson (29), of Floraville in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis and intending to supply, as well as having criminal property in the form of cash.

He arrived at Dungannon Crown Court for sentencing, dressed in a grey sweatshirt and jeans.

The court heard police stopped a vehicle being driven by Hutchinson in Enniskillen on May 26 last year.

He was found to have a bag containing a small amount of cannabis.

Police then conducted a search of Hutchinson's home, where a significant amount of cannabis was recovered, nearly half-a-kilo. Given the amount involved, officers concluded this was intended for supply to others. In addition, £2,202.66 and a quantity of euros were recovered.

Hutchinson admitted the offences.

A defence barrister conceded his client had a record of 53 convictions, but was a model remand prisoner on enhanced status.

He said: "My client accepts he has a drug addiction and understands he needs to go through a 'road to Damascus' conversion."

His Honour Judge Stephen Fowler QC remarked: "It is clear he has issues but he simply cannot stay away from drugs. If he is not before the courts for using drugs, it is for thieving to fund his habit. He's ruining his entire life and is frankly becoming a nuisance. He needs to sort himself out or there will be increasingly longer prison sentences.

"Drugs are a scourge in his life. They have destroyed his 20s and I have no doubt will do the same to his 30s if he doesn't change his ways."

Addressing Hutchinson, Judge Fowler said: "I have sentenced you in the past and I am running out of patience."

He imposed a term of 12 months imprisonment - six months in custody and the rest on licence - and ordered the drugs be destroyed and the cash donated to charity.

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