Judge slams Dyfed-Powys Police for 'staggering' delay in drugs case

Geraint Wyn Walters Image copyright Niklas Halle'n
Image caption Judge Geraint Walters said he was "uncomfortable" not be able to send the Class A drug dealers to prison

A judge who felt obliged to let two drug dealers walk free has criticised police for a "staggering" delay.

Judge Geraint Walters condemned the "systematic failure" by Dyfed-Powys Police to charge Angharad Williams and Robert Sandhu in a timely fashion.

Williams and Sandhu, both of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, admitted possession of cocaine with intent to supply.

But Judge Walters said as it had taken more than two years for the case to get to court, he would not be jailing them.

He instead gave them suspended sentences at Swansea Crown Court, a decision he said "grinds me".

Police found 40g of cocaine and £730 of cash when they stopped the pair in May 2017.

However, the case only came to court on Thursday.

Image caption It took more than two years for the case to come before Swansea Crown Court

Judge Walters told the pair: "Had you come before me in a timely manner you would both be going to prison, but I cannot ignore the inordinate delay.

"My heart tells me I should send you to prison but my head tells me that would be unjust and, as judges, were are ruled by our head."

The court heard the couple had earned about £18,000 from selling drugs, funding a luxury lifestyle of fast cars and foreign holidays.

Image copyright Dyfed-Powys Police
Image caption Deputy Chief Constable Claire Parmenter said cases often required "complex work" to prepare evidence strong enough to secure prosecution

Sandhu, 20, was handed a two-year suspended sentence, ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid work and given a curfew.

Part-time model Williams, 28, was given a one-year suspended sentence and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

After the case, Dyfed-Powys Police Deputy Chief Constable Claire Parmenter admitted the delay was "not the level of service" the force aims for.

She added: "Investigators faced a number of difficulties.

"This included the defendants' refusal to allow police access to their electronic devices, complex forensic and financial analysis work, and the need for the case to be fully reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service."

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