Northern Ireland

Student jailed for dealing ecstasy at Queen's University Belfast

A student has been jailed for dealing ecstasy tablets on a university campus in Belfast.

Zach Batten, of Saintfield Road, Belfast, was given a two-month sentence despite claiming it only involved a handful of pills among friends.

Batten, 22, pleaded guilty to possession of Class A and B drugs with intent to supply.

He was arrested at Queen's University Students' Union two days after Christmas last year.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he had 11 ecstasy tablets and more than £200 in cash on him.

During a sentencing hearing defence counsel accepted his client was in a "precarious" position.

"He said it was just among friends, although it doesn't excuse that it's among young people," the lawyer told the court.

He confirmed Batten is a full-time student hoping to progress in an engineering course.

But the judge stressed the "misery" of drug abuse and the seriousness of his actions.

"Certain offences, because of their very nature, require messages to be sent out to tell people this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated under any set of circumstances," she said.

"The supply of drugs is one of them. If you engage in that you have to accept the consequences."

Batten was given two months for each offence, with the jail terms to run concurrently.

He was granted bail pending a planned appeal against the sentence imposed.

The judge included a night-time curfew and £2,000 surety as part of his release conditions.