News Criminal Defence 2nd Jul 2019

Tom Day Successfully Appeals Sentence in the Court of Appeal

Tom Day represented what the prosecution described as the head of an Organised Crime Group in Merseyside that had supplied at least 215kg and potentially in excess of 300kg of cocaine as well as other drugs in a renewed application for leave to appeal against sentence. The evidence in the case consisted of forensic material, telephone contact, handwriting analysis and a series of ledgers that set out in detail the actions of the conspiracy.

The Defendant has been arrested by the police in 2016 and released on police bail. A day after his bail he flew to Spain where he remained until he was arrested and extradited back to England under a European Arrest Warrant.  At his first appearance at the Magistrates’ Court the 133 page case summary was not provided and he indicated pleas of not guilty.

The appeal turned on whether the sentencing judge was right to refuse the client full credit for his guilty plea which were entered in the Crown Court. The basis of the sentencing judge’s decision had been that the Defendant has a received a copy of the European Arrest Warrant which set out the nature of the case against him.  The submissions therefore considered the Criminal Procedure Rules and the provision of advance information, the Sentencing Council’s guidance on credit for guilty pleas, the effect of fleeing the jurisdiction when on police bail, the nature of the conspiracies alleged and whether in such a case a defendant needs proper legal advice before he can reasonably be expected to enter a guilty plea.

The Court, comprised of Lord Justice Davis, Mr Justice Jay and Sir John Saunders, ruled that full credit should have been afforded to the Defendant. Giving the judgment of the Court Mr Justice Jay said that in the circumstances of this case the Defendant’s ability to obtain legal advice was virtually non-existent. Further, that the nature and scale of what was alleged was relevant and “on the basis of Mr. Day’s effective oral argument we are driven to the conclusion not only that the application for leave should be allowed but that we also should allow the appeal.”

The sentence was reduced from 18 years, 9 months to 16 years, 8 months’ imprisonment.

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