"Grooverider has paid a very high price for a serious mistake."
So commented a BBC spokesperson when Radio 1 DJ Grooverider was jailed for four years in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after admitting cannabis possession.
Grooverider, whose real name is Raymond Bingham, co-presented Radio 1's Drum 'n' Bass Show With Fabio; the show will continue with Fabio taking solo control for the foreseeable future.
Bingham was arrested on November 23, 2007, after being caught with 2.16 grams of cannabis at the airport hours before he was due to play a sold-out show at The Lodge, one of the Gulf state’s hottest clubs.
Bingham claims he forgot the spliff’s worth of pot in a pair of pants and hadn’t intended to bring cannabis into the country.
Before his trial date, Bingham had commented, "I just want this to end and to never come back. It was a small amount. Back home I would not even get prosecuted." The minimum sentence for drug possession in the UAE is four years.
Bingham’s prosecution caps a period in which dozens of foreign nationals have been punished for drug possession in the Muslim country.
40-year-old Bingham, who has released music as Codename John and other aliases, is considered drum & bass music’s godfather and one of the genre’s most respected DJs.