Radio 1 DJ jailed over Dubai 'spliff'

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The Independent Online




Radio 1 DJ Grooverider has been jailed for four years in Dubai for possession of cannabis. The 40-year-old - real name Raymond Bingham - was arrested at the city's airport on November 23 after flying in for a nightclub gig.

Customs officials found 2.16 grams of cannabis in his luggage.

The DJ has denied deliberately smuggling drugs into the country and claimed to have accidentally left them in a trouser pocket.

"It's ridiculous. I must have forgotten the spliff. It was a small amount. Back home I would not even get prosecuted," he said last month in an interview from his prison cell.

Grooverider has been with Radio 1 since 1998 and co-hosts the weekly Fabio and Grooverider show at 2am each Sunday.

Since his arrest, the programme has continued without him. He was employed on a freelance basis and has not been paid by the station since November.

A Radio 1 spokesman said: "He has made a serious mistake and he is paying a very high price."

Four years is the minimum sentence for drug trafficking in the United Arab Emirates and the most serious offences are punishable by the death penalty.

As Dubai becomes an increasingly popular tourist destination, officials are taking a hardline approach to drugs possession.

In the last 12 months, 64 British nationals have been arrested in the UAE for drugs offences, according to the Foreign Office.

Grooverider has two weeks to appeal.

In 2006, US record producer Dallas Austin was sentenced by a Dubai court to four years in jail for cocaine possession, but received a royal pardon hours later and was deported.

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