A judge refused to lock up a “naive and immature” wannabe gangster because prison would boost his image.
Recorder Abdul Iqbal QC handed Binyamin Maqsood a community order for drug dealing, but warned him he would go to a young offenders’ institute the first time he breached it.
Prosecutor Mehran Nassiri told Leeds Crown Court cops saw the 19-year-old meeting people outside a shop in Huddersfield and exchanging items so they stopped and searched him.
They found 18 bags of skunk cannabis, which had a street value of around £118, in his ‘man bag’, two phones in his jumper and a lock knife on his waistband, as well as £34 in cash.
They arrested Maqsood, who has four previous convictions for handling stolen goods, theft, possession with intent to supply cannabis and possession of cannabis, and charged him with possession with intent to supply a class B drug and possession of a bladed article in a public place.
Probation officer Malcolm Brown described the defendant as very naive and immature and his view of himself as ‘fantasy-like, almost as a gangster’, adding: “He has got this gangster attitude. He’s not going to sign on for benefits.”
The defendant shouted out from the dock: “Your honour, I didn’t say that. He’s lying.”
Mr Brown went on to say that Maqsood, who lives with his parents in Bentley Street in Lockwood, spends all his money from offending on himself and drinks every night.
John Bachelor, mitigating, said: “He says he saw other people doing this and getting away with it and getting money. He was attracted to it.”
Describing his client as naive, having an attitude and arrogant with “no idea of the seriousness of the predicament he is in”, he said: “He could not complain if he was locked up today.”
The judge replied: “It would probably suit his image if he was locked up today.”
Sentencing him to 16 months in a young offenders’ institute, suspended for two years, the judge said: “You will realise that (being in custody) will not be something that you find attractive, but it would probably suit your image to tell your friends that you had received a sentence in a young offenders’ institute.”
The judge also handed down a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered him to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
Maqsood, who did not bring a bag to court, smiled as he left the courtroom.