Nelson drug user’s sick mum saves him from jail for second time

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A CONVICTED cannabis dealer who stocked up on the drug for Eid has walked free from court a second time because of his sick mum.

Munir Raza, who is said to be his mother’s carer, had been spared prison last April at Burnley Crown Court after she had written a letter saying she could not manage without him. She had urged a judge: “Please look at me and forgive him.”

Raza had been given six months in jail, suspended for 18 months, with 120 hours unpaid work, after admitting possessing cannabis with intent to supply. On Monday, he was back in the dock, facing the possibility of being locked up, after pleading guilty to possessing cannabis while subject to the suspended term.

The defendant (31), of Stanley Street, Nelson, was given a second suspended term after his mother’s health problems meant he was spared custody again.

Raza received one month behind bars, suspended for two years, with 80 hours unpaid work and Judge Andrew Woolman extended the operational period of the first suspended term from 18 months to two years. The defendant must pay £200 costs.

Mr David Macro (prosecuting) said police saw Raza driving a car badly, last October 25th. The fog lamp was on but it was not foggy and so officers followed the vehicle until it was blocked in a street. They approached and the defendant was moving his hands frantically down the left side of the driver’s seat. The door was opened and there was a strong smell of cannabis.

Three snap bags of cannabis were found – two in his pocket and one in the car. Raza said he had brought the drugs for Eid for himself and to share with friends. Mr Macro continued: “He had £250 on him, but was adamant he wasn’t selling cannabis.”

The court had heard last April how Raza had had 48 grams of the drug, worth nearly £500 on the streets, in a car he was driving. He had a cannabis habit costing £100 a week and yet earned £130 a week from his job in Nelson. The hearing had been told the defendant had owned up on the basis he would not supply strangers, did not have an extravagant lifestyle and would not have sold cannabis but for his habit.

Mr Richard Taylor (defending) said Raza accepted full responsibility. The solicitor continued: “At the time of the imposition of the suspended prison sentence, he was using a lot of cannabis. Since then, his use of cannabis has been occasional. He had saved up for the Eid celebration. He decided he would buy some cannabis, which is what he did.”

The solicitor added Raza, whose mother suffered kidney and pancreatic disorders, could stay out of trouble for lengthy periods.

Judge Woolman told the defendant: “The first thoughts of the court are immediate prison.” He added, however, he had decided not to send him straight to jail, as he had pleaded guilty, cut down on his cannabis use, it was not an offence of supplying the drug and “it may cause some family disruption.”

The judge added: “You have to get the message – if you come back before the court again, there really will be no option.”