Paul Alan Bettie, 65, had denied acquiring, using or possessing the money, which he knew represented the proceeds of another person’s criminal conduct. However, after a three-day trial the jurats found him guilty, with a majority of 8-1.
He was granted unconditional bail so a probation report could be prepared and he will be sentenced in May.
He had previously pleaded guilty to a further charge of failing to make a cash declaration when leaving Guernsey.
During the trial the court heard how the unemployed man had visited Guernsey for the weekend in August 2017 with his daughter and granddaughter. As they went to get the ferry back to Poole the car was stopped in a random check and £153,200 in cash was found in heat-sealed bags in the footwell of Bettie’s front seat. This was Bettie’s first trip to Guernsey, yet nearly £84,000 was in Channel Island notes.
In interview he argued he carried around his life savings with him and had also won a lot of money over the weekend break playing poker.
Over the weekend Bettie had used his daughter’s phone. Phone records showed him contacting some new numbers during the visit. At the time the ferry docked at Poole dozens of calls were made to the phone, but by then Bettie was in custody.
Bettie chose not to give evidence in the case. As part of his defence, quotes from a book about Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant were read to the court, which claimed that Bettie had been handed hundreds of thousands of pounds to look after for the band, which showed, it was argued, that he was used to carrying around large sums of money.
In summing up, Deputy Bailiff Richard McMahon said the prosecution case was that the way in which Bettie handled the money demonstrated that it derived from criminal behaviour, however, the prosecution did not seek to link the money to any specific crime.
He asked the jurats to consider all the evidence and Bettie’s background, including his life in the 1970s rock’n’roll scene.
‘Is it possible that what has happened here is just an example of that unconventional attitude for life by the defendant?’ he said.
The jurats rejected this.