A Norwich drug dealer has been jailed for four years after he was found to have attempted to blackmail a man over a drugs debt and that he possessed illegal drugs.

Mr Shahajah Miah, 30, was apparently owed £480 for a drugs debt by a man. When he failed to pay this debt he went round to the man’s family home and threatened his father with kidnapping his son if the debt was not paid. The police were subsequently contacted by the father and Mr Miah was arrested by police officers when he returned to the property to collect the debt. Upon arrest nine wraps of crack cocaine and heroin and £1,894 in cash was found upon Mr Miah and confiscated. Mr Miah was subsequently charged with blackmail, possession of drugs with intent to supply, and money laundering. He was prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service and pleaded guilty to all three offences. Following this he was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Stephen Holt.

Stephen Spence, for the Crown Prosecution Service, submitted that when police confiscated Mr Miah’s phone they found it contained a multiplicity of text messages relating to blackmail threats to the victim and arranged drug deals. On this basis – and the evidence against him – Mr Miah admitted the offences. The Judge gave him credit for doing so, stating that he was a street dealer who dealt drugs to fund his own habit. Further, Mr Miah had a job and it was likely that at least some of the cash found on his person was legitimately earned.

Mr Miah’s criminal defence solicitor, Mr Michael Clare, stated that Mr Miah was “dealing to fund his own habit” and that not all of the money seized by the police was related to drug-dealing. He further stated that Mr Miah was an “unlikely blackmailer” and that he was not criminally sophisticated or academically gifted, having left a trail of text messages which proved his guilt.

If you’ve been accused of blackmail the Crown Prosecution Service must prove (beyond reasonable doubt) that you have made (with a view to gain for yourself or for another person or with intent to cause loss to another) an unwarranted demand with menaces; and that you had reasonable grounds for making the demand, and that the use of the menace (i.e. the threat) was a proper means of reinforcing the demand. The maximum sentence that can be handed down in a blackmail case is 14 years.

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