Man from Leeds jailed for three years after being found with £800 worth of cocaine in Harrogate

A businessman caught with 16 wraps of cocaine in Harrogate claimed the drugs were meant for him and his mates on a joint stag-and-birthday weekend, but his claims rang hollow in the Crown Court and he was jailed for three years.
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Adam Baz refused to give police the passcodes to his phones to prove this claim and was charged with possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply.

Baz, a 32-year-old garage owner and single parent, denied the offence, only to plead guilty on the day his trial was due to take place in December, but on the basis that he had bought the drugs just before he was arrested and only intended to supply the cocaine to his friends and keep the rest for himself.

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The Crown didn’t accept his claim and Baz still refused to allow his phone to be examined by police forensics, so he was given a final opportunity at York Crown Court today, during what was meant to be a trial of issue or Newton hearing, to go into the witness box and give evidence to prove he was not a street dealer.

Adam Baz, 32, of Beeston in Leeds, has been jailed for three years for supplying cocaine in HarrogateAdam Baz, 32, of Beeston in Leeds, has been jailed for three years for supplying cocaine in Harrogate
Adam Baz, 32, of Beeston in Leeds, has been jailed for three years for supplying cocaine in Harrogate

However, he declined the offer, a judge inferred this meant he had “something to hide” and he was duly sent to jail.

Prosecutor Emma Handley said that on the day of Baz’s arrest in March 2022, police officers were on mobile patrol when they stopped a VW Tiguan on Leeds Road, Harrogate.

When Baz, who was the sole occupant, was asked what he was doing in Harrogate, he said he was there to meet a friend but wouldn’t name that person.

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He became “evasive” during questioning and taken to Harrogate Police Station, where he admitted he had some cocaine on him before any search took place.

Police found a grip-seal bag containing 16 wraps of cocaine and with a street value of up to £800, as well as £370 cash inside his jacket.

During a search of the Volkswagen, officers found three mobiles including two iPhones.

During police questioning, Baz refused to disclose the passcodes for his iPhones, denying the prosecuting authorities vital evidence as to his intentions.

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Defence barrister Edward Moss said that Baz, of Wickham Street in Beeston, ran a garage business with three employees who could lose their jobs if he were jailed.

He said the business would collapse without him and claimed there was “little”, if any evidence, that Baz had been dealing to anyone other than his friends for a weekend birthday-and-stag bash.

He added that Baz was of otherwise “exemplary” character, had no previous convictions and had simply “made a mistake two years ago”.

However, judge Simon Hickey stressed that Baz had chosen not to give evidence in court regarding his basis of plea – which would make a significant difference to the length of sentence – despite being given “numerous opportunities” to do so.

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He told Baz: “It’s a clear, common-sense inference that you have something to hide and that’s the inference I draw.”

The judge cast great doubt on the businessman’s claim that he had bought the drugs in Harrogate just before his arrest because he had a Leeds address, was found in possession of 16 wraps and refused to name the friend he claimed he was meeting in the town.

He added: “I don’t think you are telling the truth and I think you were undoubtedly on the streets of Harrogate with 16 wraps of cocaine ready to deal them on the street and the £370 cash shows you were expecting substantial financial gain.”

He said although Baz was otherwise an “exemplary character” who had led an “industrious life”, it had to be an immediate jail sentence because “Class A drugs cause misery, degradation and death” and the NHS was “overburdened with (people) addicted to cocaine”.

Baz will serve half of the three-year jail sentence behind bars before being released on prison licence.