A former doctor from Telford hospital arrested for smuggling darknet party drugs into Britain has narrowly escaped imprisonment. He admitted to having bought the illegal drugs from a darknet marketplace, to cope with anxiety and stress as a result of the working environment in the emergency unit of the hospital.
Last year the police raided Condon’s house in Bolton and seized amphetamine-related drugs such as Alpha PHP, methylone powder as well as psychoactive substances such as Fluorophenmetrazine using the dark web from an online company in Amsterdam.
A parcel with Condon’s address was intercepted by border police, which contained several packages containing 26 grams of class B drugs with a net worth of over £100.
Doctor Condon Michael, 40, was convicted of purchasing and smuggling heroin while he was still working at Telford, and was given a suspended jail sentence in 2005. This was after he faked a patient prescription in order to obtain in-house drugs from a pharmacy for his own consumption. After the suspension, he was allowed to continue with his duties at work under close supervision but completely banned from prescribing drugs.
Condon pleaded guilty of purchasing and importing darknet class B drugs at Bolton Crown Court this week. However, he walked free with the judge ordering him only to serve 200 hours of unpaid work. This was after he argued that he had been working under extreme pressure in the hospital’s accident and emergency unit. As a result, he relapsed into taking the drugs to manage his stress and anxiety. The death of two children he was treating is also believed to have affected him deeply.
Judge Knopf Elliot at Bolton Crown Court said that he was aware of the sophisticated operation involved the importation of large quantities of drugs which were later sold to others. Judge Elliot also seemed to rule in favor of precedence. It is often seen that darknet drug dealers get sent away for multiple years in prison, or the drug dealer skips prison with a suspended sentence and a fine. There is no middle ground usual but rather both extremes of the sentencing process.
Stated by Judge Elliot:
I agree that your case is completely different. The drugs seized were for personal use and that is evident from the quantities found. You just happened to be a medical practitioner who was dealing with a stressful situation…I agree that the environment there can impose stress on the workers and it takes a great deal to the medical staff of their ability to withstand the pressure. However, this does not amount to a valid excuse for purchasing and usage of controlled substances. I am of the view that the context under which you used the illicit substances as a coping mechanism is valid and am contented that you feel sorry, remorseful and realize that what you did was wrong, illegal and punishable. In my reasonable view, nothing much will be achieved in by imposing a jail sentence.
The court records
According to the court records, Condon pleaded guilty 13 years ago on 10 charges of illegally obtaining controlled substances from a pharmacy after lying that the drugs were for his patient’s medication while in fact, they were for his personal use. Three of the charges were for heroin possession. He also pleaded guilty to eight other charges for illegally obtaining property when he was working as a doctor.
He was jailed for 18 months and later suspended for two years after it was clear that he had faked patient’s medication to obtain the drugs. In 2000, he had also been convicted for drunk driving.
According to the attorney David Wood, the defendant had also suffered from severe trauma while he was still in medical school. He was assaulted and this contributed to his problem with class A drugs as his only mechanism of coping with his condition and this explains his previous conviction.
The court was told that Condon had a possible job at a hospital in Scunthorpe despite him having over eight conditions placed on his work registration. Condon is also expected to appear before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service disciplinary panel.