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Brothers warned custody could await them for Hungerford drug offences

Pair are due to be sentenced next month

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

Court No.1 New

A MAN has been warned he is facing a potential prison sentence for committing drug and knife offences in Hungerford. 

Twenty-year-old Matthew Phillips was already under investigation for dangerous driving and dealing in cannabis when he was arrested.

He was due to stand trial at Reading Crown Court on Monday for the offence of possessing cocaine with intent to supply it in Hungerford – which he had denied – and of carrying a bladed article in public.

But Russell Pyne, prosecuting, told Judge Sarah Campbell that a police expert witness had, “within the last week”, provided new information which suggested the amount of cocaine Mr Phillips was caught with, which had a street value of more than £500, was more consistent with personal use than with dealing.

Meanwhile, before the new evidence was available, the court heard, the defendant’s older brother – 22-year-old Thomas Phillips – had already pleaded guilty to possessing the Class A drug with intent to supply it, and has been remanded in custody awaiting sentence.

At Monday’s hearing, Matthew Phillips pleaded guilty to the new charge of simple cocaine possession and of carrying the knife, both in Hungerford on January 17.

Outlining the facts, Mr Pyne said: “It appears both brothers had access to a car in which [Matthew Phillips] was stopped.

“Cocaine was located at that point in Matthew Phillips’ possession.

“By his previous guilty plea, Thomas accepts being concerned in the supply of that drug.”

Michael Harrison, defending, said both brothers, who live at Lawrence Mead, Kintbury, had been in custody for nearly six months since their arrest.

He conceded that, when arrested, Matthew Phillips had already been “released under investigation” by police on charges of dangerous driving and cannabis dealing – charges he has subsequently been convicted of.

Judge Campbell said: “These new offences were committed while he was released under investigation. That’s a serious aggravating feature.

aggravating feature.

“Given that pre-sentence reports have been ordered on [Thomas Phillips], I will order one for Matthew Phillips.

“But he should be under no illusion as to what the court is thinking of in terms of sentencing.

“These reports will be conducted on an ‘all options’ basis, including custody.”

Matthew Phillips will be sentenced on July 5 for possession of cocaine and a blade, plus dangerous driving and possession of cannabis with intent to supply it.

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