Man who was arrested at port in connection with £60,000 cocaine haul is given suspended jail term for breaching ‘anti-Crime Order’

ColeraineCourt9 - Edited

A man with an Antrim address who was previously jailed after being arrested at Holyhead port in Wales in connection with the transportation of £60,000 worth of cocaine and was the first person in Northern Ireland to be hit with a Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO) has been sentenced for breaching the Order.

William Dennison Gracey (41) of Altmore Close, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The Order was put in place in 2016 in a bid to prevent Gracey from being involved in the drugs trade and he was restricted to having one mobile phone which had to be registered with police.

In January this year at Antrim Road in Glengormley he was detected with two phones, only one of which was registered.

Gracey had previously admitted a charge of failing to comply with an SCPO.

A previous court heard the Order was put in place in 2016 when Gracey was released from jail and the Order is due to expire in 2020.

At Thursday’s Court, Gracey was also sentenced for driving without due care and attention at Crankill Road near Glarryford in May this year.

Defence barrister Neil Moore told the earlier hearing Gracey was previously jailed at Antrim Crown Court for Class A drugs offences.

He said it was the very first Serious Crime Prevention Order given in Northern Ireland.

Mr Moore said police had hoped the SCPO would ensure Gracey would not “re-engage in high end criminality in relation to drugs”.

He said one of the phones was registered with police and the other was used to contact Probation and the police had both numbers.

District Judge Nigel Broderick told the earlier hearing there had been three previous breaches of the Order by Gracey in January 2017 and in May and June this year.

A police officer told the previous court there were 48 SCPOs in Northern Ireland with the majority taken out by police and others by the National Crime Agency and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.

She said the police had difficulty trying to get Gracey to engage with them regarding the Orders.

The police officer said previous breaches had included the defendant not informing police of any vehicle he had.

Judge Broderick said he wanted further information brought to the court as it was now the fourth breach and the case had been adjourned until November 8.

At the November 8 court it was heard that on May 9 this year Gracey was seen driving erratically on the Crankill Road by weaving in and out of traffic and overtaking at speed and he was eventually stopped by police in the Antrim area.

Neil Moore told Thursday’s court the SCPO meant the defendant had to give police details of any vehicle he owned as well as registering his phone.

The barrister said that since the implementation of the SCPO Gracey had not been involved in drugs.

Regarding the careless driving, Mr Moore said it had been a “momentary lapse” and that the defendant is now a disqualified driver having lost his licence for three years at another court.

He said Gracey is on benefits but had tried and had been involved in various jobs in restaurants in the Belfast area.

For the latest offences, Judge Broderick imposed a three months jail term, suspended for three years; banned the defendant from the road for a year and fined him £200.

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