A HEROIN dealer walked free from court after it took police and prosecutors nearly two years to bring him to justice.

Jamie Nelson, 30, from Newport, was told that had his case been dealt with properly he would have been going to prison for a long time.

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Steven Donoghue, prosecuting, told Cardiff Crown Court that when police raided the defendant’s home, they found 47 heroin deals with a potential street value of £735.

They also discovered a Rolex watch, drug-related messages on a mobile phone and more than £1,100 in cash.


Nelson, of Maesglas Grove, admitted possession of heroin with intent to supply and possession of cannabis on December 17, 2018.

The purity of the heroin was 57 per cent.

Mr Donoghue said the defendant had two previous convictions for two offences, the first being a breach of an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) from 2009.

The second saw him jailed in 2017 for violent disorder.

Scott Bowen, mitigating, said the 22-month delay in bringing the case to sentence had taken a “massive toll” on the defendant.

He said that father-of-three Nelson’s mental health had suffered and that his life “has been on hold”.

Mr Bowen added: “In 2018, when these offences were committed, he was unemployed and desperate.

“He offers no excuses for his behaviour. I would ask the court to give him credit for his guilty pleas.

“He has no relevant previous convictions for the supply of any drugs.”

The court was told how the defendant only received his postal requisition summoning him to court in February.

The coronavirus outbreak led to his case being adjourned on a number of occasions before it finally went ahead in the magistrates’ court last month.

Judge David Wynn Morgan told Nelson: “If this matter had been dealt with in a timely fashion, you would be going into immediate custody for a significant period of time.

“Twenty-two months have elapsed since the commission of these offences and you have committed no further offences since.”

He said he was prepared to spare Nelson an immediate custodial term.

The defendant was jailed for two years, suspended for two years.

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay a £140 surcharge.

Nelson could face Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings later this year.