I don't believe my client is guilty of drug dealing, and the manner of her arrest is suspicious. Has she been set up by the police? And can I prove it in court?by Alex McBride / September 24, 2006 / Leave a comment
The hot stillness of the August morning was about to be broken. Two cops holding a stubby battering ram, known as a “red rooster,” silently counted to three and attacked the door. On the third bang they were through, a wave of officers washing in behind them. Linda, a black woman in her early twenties, dozing in bed, heard the noise and sat up. A boy in his late teens called Michael had been asleep on a chair beside her; he knew exactly what was happening. “It’s a bust,” he said, slipping a wedge of bank notes into the bed. A few seconds later the cops were in the bedroom: “Police, nobody move!”
I met tearful Linda the next day in the cells. Her husband and two small children didn’t yet know she was in custody, charged, as was Michael, with possession with intent to supply class A drugs. Linda didn’t look like a dealer. She was healthily plump, had no previous convictions and had tested negative for drugs in the police station. The judge granted her bail on condition that she surrender her Jamaican passport, which she was unable to do because it was somewhere in the bowels of Lunar House in Croydon. She would have to stay put, perhaps for months or, if convicted, years. Linda was inconsolable. It was money that had landed her in jail. Her husband, a native Brit, had been making her feel bad that she wasn’t contributing to the family’s finances. She cut hair part-time but it wasn’t bringing in much. Linda had resolved to do better. It was a stroke of luck when her friend Coral, a prostitute, invited her to come and make some quick money in the provinces. Coral worked as a prostitute to feed her crack habit. For the first few days all went well, and Linda made money hand over fist. She stayed with Coral at her flat, which ever-enterprising Coral let other crack addicts use in exchange for free drugs. Linda sensibly hid her takings in her pants.
On the third day, to Linda’s mild surprise, Coral and her crack buddies got up early, locking the door from outside as they left. Linda was left alone with Michael, a young man from Jamaica who had also been staying with Coral. Linda assumed she wouldn’t be gone long and went back to sleep. The next thing she knew…