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Pensioner's drug sentence was "not excessive"
7:30am Friday 19th October 2012 in News
A PENSIONER who was a “principal” in one of Britain’s largest cannabis importation rackets was lucky to only get a nine-year jail term, top judges have ruled.
John Francis Hastie, 65, was told during an appeal hearing he would not have his nine-year sentence for conspiracy to import 3.48 tons of cannabis reduced.
London’s Criminal Appeal Court heard Hastie took part in a conspiracy to import “absolutely massive quantities of cannabis” into the UK between early 2008 and late 2009.
Hastie, of Rollason Way, Brentwood, was jailed for nine years at Kingston Crown Court, in November, last year.
Lord Justice Hughes, Mr Justice Burnett and Judge Neil Ford QC, who presided over the appeal, heard him plead for his sentence to be reduced, but the trio dismissed the case.
Lord Justice Hughes said: “These were absolutely massive quantities of drugs, miles beyond the quantities contemplated in the cases which constitute this court’s guidelines in drug cases.
“Each one of these importations, of which there were at least 15, could have been charged separately as importations of large quantities of cannabis and the maximum sentence for each would have been 14 years.
“Consecutive sentences would not have been improper.”
The court heard at least 15 importations of a minimum of 100kg of cannabis were made while the conspiracy ran.
The gang used premises in Grays, Essex, and Poole, Dorset, to receive the drugs smuggled into the UK from the continent through the port of Felixstowe.
Lawyers for Hastie argued his jail term exceeded sentencing guidelines and he was “the least involved” of the three principals in the plot.