I had to laugh at this report about a British 'drug' dealer who wasn't dealing drugs.
A conman who was found to be selling washing powder as cocaine has ended up in court for fraud.
Jamie Lee Taylor, 27, passed off the household cleaning product as Class A drugs for two months.
His enterprise paid off in the short term as he made "a fair bit of money", Teesside Crown Court heard.
But he ended up in the dock as he had broken the law, despite never having sold illegal narcotics.
Taylor pleaded guilty to offering to supply cocaine to others between July and September and "possession of an article for use in fraud" - three bags of white powder - on September 5.
. . .
Prosecutor Rachel Masters said: "Essentially, the defendant is purporting to sell drugs in the way that a drug dealer would sell drugs. He's making a fair bit of money out of it as a result."
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said he needed some time to think about the case.
He said he was not sure about passing sentence from guidelines for offences involving real drugs.
There's more at the link.
I can understand the judge's dilemma. If he sentences Mr. Taylor according to the guidelines for drug dealing, but Mr. Taylor hadn't dealt drugs, he's likely to win on appeal. If he sentences him according to the fraud guidelines, what fraud was committed? After all, no drug dealer sells things called 'cocaine' or 'heroin' - they use street slang names (at least, all those I've met behind bars did so). That being the case, it's going to be hard to pin down exactly what was sold compared to what the buyers thought they were getting. Semantics matter, particularly in courts of law.
(There's also the fact that sentences are supposed to be a deterrent to crime . . . not a detergent!)