Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED September 18, 2003

An applicant's sentence was reduced to 18 months' imprisonment on the basis that he had supplied the undercover female police officer with cocaine in an attempt to impress her rather than for commercial motive.Applications for leave to appeal against sentences for supplying class A and class B drugs, namely cocaine and cannabis. The first applicant ('H') was convicted of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and supplying cannabis, consequently pleading guilty to supplying cocaine. He was sentenced to a total of four years' imprisonment on four counts. The second applicant ('O') pleaded guilty on rearraignment to two offences of supplying cocaine and was sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment on both, to be served concurrently. Both applicants were arrested as a result of an undercover police operation in a public house. H personally supplied officers with cocaine on several occasions and cannabis on one occasion during the operation. H also introduced the officers to a co-accused ('E'), who subsequently supplied cocaine to undercover police officers. E pleaded guilty to seven counts of supplying and offering to supply cocaine and was sentenced to three and a half years' imprisonment. H sought leave to appeal against his sentence on the basis that: (i) the sentencing judge had created an objectionable parity between H and E, who was involved on more occasions over a longer period; and (ii) no credit appeared to have been given for H's guilty pleas. O contended that the prosecution had accepted that O may have supplied the cocaine not for a commercial motive but to impress the female officer and thus the offence was more akin to social supply. A single judge had refused their applications for leave to appeal.HELD: (1) The single judge was correct in saying that H had contested all the charges and had only pleaded guilty after being convicted of one. The sentencing judge was entitled to limit the discount he gave. There were no grounds for complaining that H's sentence was too long compared with E. H's application for leave was refused. (2) In the case of O, the single judge did not have all of the information before him on the social supply argument. Leave was granted to O on the authority of R v Anderson (2003) 1 Cr App R 421, where it was reflected that in such circumstances it might not be a case of commercial supply, but of someone trying to impress a member of the opposite sex. O's sentence was to be reduced to 18 months' imprisonment.Judgment accordingly.

[2003] EWCA Crim 2517