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Court shows mercy on drug offender’s partner

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A WOMAN, who spent thousands of pounds buying cannabis for her then-partner, in a bid to support him, avoided prison yesterday as the Royal Court showed clemency.

Mark Harry Vivyan Bichard has been sentenced to five years in prison for drugs matters. (26630871)

But her co-accused was sentenced to five years in prison.

Lisa Marie Le Page, 27, and Mark Harry Vivyan Bichard, 31, pleaded guilty to jointly and knowingly being involved in the importation of cannabis and cannabis resin.

Le Page also admitted one count of supplying cannabis to another, and one count of assisting to cultivate cannabis.

Bichard pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis, supplying cannabis and cannabis resin to another and being in possession of cannabis resin.

The court heard how Bichard used cannabis to cope with anxiety problems and pain. His then-partner, Le Page, tried to help supply him with drugs. She did not use it herself.

Messages from the pairs’ mobile phones showed offending had been taking place over months.

The couple’s mobiles also revealed messages about how they had bought lights and a number of other items to help grow cannabis plants. Photographs showed Bichard holding two cannabis plants while in Le Page’s loft. A later picture showed cannabis being dried.

A video showed Bichard talking about growing his own drugs to sell.

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In early 2018, Bichard began buying cannabis from a UK website.

As he did not have a bank account, Le Page would transfer the money for him, despite struggling for money herself. Over four months she spent more than £4,500 on 14 drug importations. Based on the average prices on the drug dealer’s website, this would have purchased about 300g.

In June 2018, a parcel addressed to Le Page was intercepted at Guernsey Post’s sorting office. Inside was cannabis and cannabis resin. Police attended the couple’s home and they were arrested.

Cannabis was found around the property.

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There was also evidence of previous cannabis cultivation, including seeds, lights and an insulated wardrobe, although no plants were found.

In police interview, the pair initially denied parts of the charges, although later admitted everything. Bichard tried to protect Le Page, saying she had not been involved.

After being bailed for the cultivation and importation charges Bichard was bailed.

But then 11 days before he was due to be sentenced the police were called to a St Sampson’s address. There they found Bichard on the roof. He was arrested for unrelated matters. A phone was found in the gutter, which Bichard denied was his. However, it had the same passcode as Bichard’s phone from the earlier charges and the email addresses were in his name.

Messages on the phone showed Bichard supplying drugs to others. A search of his home found a small amount of cannabis resin.

Le Page had no previous matters on her record. Bichard had several matters, including drug charges.

Defence advocate David Thompson said his client had turned to growing cannabis due to the poor quality of local drugs. He had only grown a few plants, but as Le Page did not like the smell, he had turned to importing instead.

Advocate Thompson said the drug websites were set up to make it easy to get drugs delivered to customers’ doors. He added that his client deeply regretted dragging Le Page into this.

Le Page’s advocate, Sara Mallett, said her client was very sorry for what she had done and would never be before the court again.

Judge Russell Finch said in a rare and exceptional move the court would extend mercy to Le Page, who broke down in tears at the news she was not going to prison.

She was sentenced to a two-year probation order for supplying and cultivating the drug and a 240-hour community service order for the joint importation charges.

Bichard was sentenced to two years in prison for the importation and cultivation charges and a further three years in prison for the supplying cannabis and cannabis resin. No separate order was made for the possession charge.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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