Drug campaigner sent to jail for three years, three months

THE founder of the Guernsey Drug Strategy Campaign, which seeks to liberalise the island’s drug laws, was jailed for three years yesterday by the Royal Court for her part in a cannabis supply enterprise.

Lucia Pagliarone embraced by a supporter on the Royal Court steps yesterday before she was sentenced to three years in prison for supplying cannabis, and three months for money laundering. She has consistently campaigned for drug law reform on medicinal and economic grounds.(30947751)
Lucia Pagliarone embraced by a supporter on the Royal Court steps yesterday before she was sentenced to three years in prison for supplying cannabis, and three months for money laundering. She has consistently campaigned for drug law reform on medicinal and economic grounds.(30947751)

A further three months was also imposed on Lucia Pagliarone, 35, after she admitted a money laundering offence – namely transferring £2,200 to her partner’s bank account on the same day that the Royal Court had frozen her assets.

Pagliarone stood for the States in the 2020 general election, polling 4,602 votes which put her 62nd overall. She, her partner Christopher Burnet, 31, and Michael Clarke, 68, admitted jointly being concerned in the supply of herbal cannabis between December 2019 and June 2020. Clarke admitted producing the drug between January 2018 and June 2020 while Burnet admitted possessing it on 4 June 2020.

In the Royal Court’s sentencing remarks, Deputy Bailiff Jessica Roland said the court had considered the effect a prison term would have on Pagliarone’s two young children, but the seriousness of her offending meant that there was no alternative to a sentence of immediate custody.

She maintained that she had supplied the cannabis to others as ‘medicine’ yet she had still made £21,390 from the enterprise, by paying Clarke £20 per gram for the drug and selling it for £30. She had also sourced seeds that Clarke used to grow cannabis.

Advocates for each defendant argued that circumstances were exceptional and pleaded with the court to impose alternative sentences to custody. Clarke’s wheelchair-bound wife sat in the well of the court and wept as the court’s decision was announced

The Deputy Bailiff said Burnet had had a much more limited role in the enterprise, but nevertheless had been involved for four months. He knew what his partner had been doing and had been passively complicit. His was a truly exceptional case though, and his sentence of 18 months’ prison for the supply, and one month consecutive for possession, would be suspended for three years.

Clarke had been a wholesaler who had needed a supplier to sell his wares. He had fitted out his home to grow cannabis in order to maximise his return.

Records showed that he had sold 11kg of cannabis. It was accepted he had been very candid with law enforcement and was remorseful. He was jailed for four years for the production, and three years, concurrent, for the supply.

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