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Michael Condon, a NHS doctor and consultant in a hospital A&E unit, avoided a jail sentence after admitting he had imported α-PHP, 4-fluoroamphetamine, and methylone from a source in the Netherlands. The sentencing judge at Bolton Crown Court gave Condon a suspended sentence in lieu of any time behind bars.
“In my view, nothing will be served by imposing a sentence of imprisonment,” Judge Elliot Knopf told Condon during the sentencing hearing. Condon told the court that he had purchased α-PHP, methylone, and 4-fluoroamphetamine (or 3-fluorophenmetrazine, depending on the report) in an effort to cope with the stress and trauma he suffered from while working at the hospital’s A&E unit. Specifically, he said, the death of two children had really pushed him over the limit and ensured his relapse.
The court heard how Condon, in 2005, had written fake prescriptions for patients so that he could use the drugs. He pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence and community service work. His lawyer explained that Condon had used drugs while in medical school in order to deal with the emotional turmoil caused by classmates who had bullied him. He was beaten up in 1999 and got addicted to various illegal substances afterwards. After his 2005 conviction for falsifying prescriptions, he was not allowed to practice medicine until 2006. Even then, he was not allowed to write prescriptions and had to abide by strict regulations. He had, however, gotten clean from any illegal drugs.
In 2016, the UK Border Force intercepted a package of one of the aforementioned stimulants headed for Condon’s home. They took no action. Then, after a package of α-PHP got intercepted that was intended for the same recipient, the UK Border Force obtained a search warrant and executed it on March 28, 2017. They found that the man had been making numerous purchases from a drug supplier in the Netherlands as early as October 2016. Records on his computer indicated that he had been purchasing drugs up until his March 2017 arrest. Although every order was for a small quantity of drugs, the frequency of the orders raised concern in court. For instance, all of the purchases were for less than £100.
In one package seizure, the Border Force seized 15 grams of α-PHP, six grams of methylone, and five grams of either 4-fluoroamphetamine (or 3-fluorophenmetrazine).
Judge Elliot Knopf explained that no amount of stress or trauma justified the purchase of illegal drugs. “But it is the context of using drugs as a coping mechanism and I accept that you feel remorse for what you have done,” he said. The judge also acknowledged how difficult Condon’s work environment would have been to someone who had formerly been addicted to heroin and other substances.
Because Condon knew his actions were wrong and had since sobered up, the judge issued a suspended sentence of 18 months.