A pair of student drug dealers has been spared jail after a judge was impressed by the ‘spelling and grammar’ of the texts they sent advertising their product.
Luke Rance, 19, and Brandon Kerrison, 21, were arrested outside a Swansea library when they were found in possession of the Class B drug.
A court heard police examined their mobile phones to find text messages relating to their drug deals composed using perfect spelling and punctuation.
Judge David Hale said the ‘grammar and punctuation’ in the messages were of a much higher standard than normally seen from dealers and indicated a higher level of education.
Swansea Crown Court heard one message from Kerrison’s phone said: ‘Mad flavors from 10 tonight – let me know for more details’.
The court heard Kerrison was studying at Llansamlet Construction College in Swansea. Rance, who takes part in theatre productions, was due to start a degree having studied at Gower College, also in Swansea.
Judge Hale said he did not want to ‘fetter the prospects’ of either man by sending them to jail.
Instead, Kerrison and Rance were handed community orders with 100 hours of unpaid work.
Had Judge Hale wanted to impose a harsher punishment, sentencing guidelines indicate the pair could have been imprisoned for up to 26 weeks.
Kerrison, of Southgate, Swansea, admitted possession of cannabis with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of cannabis.
Rance, also of Southgate, admitted possession of cannabis with intent and possession of cocaine.
Rance is an aspiring actor who has appeared in stage productions of Les Miserables, A Chorus Line, and Grease. Pictures on his social media page show him singing, dancing, playing guitar and working with drama groups while studying a performing arts course at Gower College in Swansea.
He is due to begin a university degree in September.
Judge Hale told the pair – dressed in dark ties and jackets – that at first ‘cannabis may be an experiment that you find pleasurable’ but its use can have serious consequences.
He said courts all too often see lives that have been ‘desperately affected’ by the use of strong cannabis.
The judge said the delay in bringing the case to court ‘does not do the system much credit’ – and had meant a long period of stress and worry for their families.
However, he said the delay may have worked to the benefit of the pair as it meant they were able to demonstrate they had got their lives back on track and had stayed out of trouble.
He said Rance seemed have got involved with ‘ne’er-do-wells in Liverpool’ by his cannabis-buying activities while Kerrison had set himself up as a dealer for people in the local community.
Judge Hale told them: ‘I hope a court never sees either of you again.’
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