A TEENAGE drug dealer was a no show in the dock after a scuffle with his rivals on the steps of the court building.
The 16-year-old boy from east Swindon, who cannot be identified as he is under 18, was due to appear before Swindon Youth Court to be sentenced for supplying heroin and crack cocaine to an undercover police officer last July.
But the teen left court hurriedly before the hearing, taking his mum’s mobile phone with him, after an encounter with a group who had come to court to support friends also up for dealing drugs. It came three weeks after an 18-year-old facing drug dealing charges was attacked outside the crown court.
Sam Arif, defending, asked magistrates to adjourn the case. That would also give more time to establish whether detectives planned to bring charges relating to supplying undercover officers with class A drugs at a similar time.
She said: “There’s been a bit of an issue with group out there.
“It’s for his own safety. He can’t come back.
“Clearly, today I wasn’t aware until it had already happened there was an issue with a number of youths who are here.
“He seems to be the odd one out.
“He’s gone. He has in fact taken his mum’s phone.”
The solicitor said she had managed to speak to him on the phone and told him to wait where he was. The boy was unharmed but shaken.
Ms Arif told magistrates: “Sometimes you have youths who come in and there’s loads of bravado, Then, in my experience, they go into child mode. I’ve told him to wait where he is.”
She raised concerns about delays in the police and Crown Prosecution Service deciding whether or not to charge a number of other alleged drug supply offences.
Magistrates were told: “We’re now eight months down the line and we haven’t heard anything. This whole offending period is in July.
“We could be sentenced for example to a youth rehabilitation order with intensive supervision and surveillance and six months down the line he gets two more offences and you send him to custody.
“I would respectfully suggest it’s completely unjust for a 16-year-old to have all this hanging over him.”
Swindon magistrates adjourned the case to April 28.
The bench agreed that measures should be taken to ensure the boy did not come face to face with the young men who had challenged him outside court.