News Criminal Regulatory 4th Dec 2019

Narita Bahra QC and Laura Stephenson defend in international drug conspiracies prosecuted by The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (‘MHRA’) brought a prosecution which they alleged had a substantial international dimension. It was alleged the client was the UK ringleader of the sophisticated operation.

The MHRA is an Executive Agency of the Department of Health responsible for the regulation and control of medicines and medical devices for on the UK market. The MHRA Enforcement Group includes a Prosecutions Unit who investigated and brought this case. The MHRA used undercover investigators and extensive covert surveillance methods in the course of their investigation. The case required challenging evidence which had not been obtained in accordance with Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA).

The client was alleged to be one of the ringleaders running a substantial and lucrative drop shipping business, conspiring with others, to import prescription only medicines (POMs), unauthorised medicines and Class C drugs from the Indian subcontinent into the UK, for onward sale across Europe. A number of illicit online drug sales platforms were said to have been used in the conspiracy. The case involved detailed analysis of substantial amounts of digital evidence.

In one raid, the MHRA seized more than 300,000 tablets, worth in excess of £315,000. The prosecution suggested that the tablets seized represented a fraction of the overall illegal operation.

The prosecution then brought complex Proceeds of Crime Act (‘POCA’) proceedings seeking substantial sums of monies from criminal conduct and hidden assets. At a hearing this week, following protracted negotiations, Narita and Laura persuaded the prosecution to agree to an order for a significantly reduced sum. Read more here.

Narita Bahra QC & Laura Stephenson were instructed by Gordon Shine Solicitors.

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