Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED October 14, 2003

Any period of time spent in custody as a result of breach of licence had to be taken into account when sentencing, however, the sentence of six years for possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply whilst severe was not manifestly excessive.Appeal with leave of the single judge, against a total sentence of seven and a half years' imprisonment for possession of Class A drugs, namely crack cocaine and heroin, with intent to supply and breach of licence. The defendant ('D') pleaded guilty to the offences on 4 December 2002 and the sentence was imposed on 6 March 2003 at Grimsby Crown Court. When sentencing, the judge ordered the six years for the drug offences to run consecutively with an 18 month sentence for the unexpired period of licence. D had been released on licence on 5 April 2002 and the licence expiry date was 2 March 2004. The judge was not told that D was recalled from licence on 3 July 2002 and had already served a substantial period for the breach. In June 2002 police officers stopped a car in which D was a passenger. D was searched and found to have 36.1g of crack cocaine and 23.9g of heroin. D pleaded guilty on the basis that he stole the drugs from a dealer and would be selling them on to another dealer. D appealed sentence on the ground that account should have been taken of the time spent in custody in consequence of the licence being revoked. Further, the sentence was manifestly excessive, the offences would not merit nine years following a trial. Given the basis of plea, D should have been sentenced on a wholly different basis from a defendant dealing with drugs after acquiring them from an importer.HELD: (1) It was clear in R v Stocker (2003) 2 Cr App R (S) 335 that account had to be taken of time spent in custody in consequence of a licence being revoked. If the judge had been aware of the full circumstances he would not have directed a period of 18 months but of 266 days. (2) There was no logic in the suggestion D should have been dealt with differently from an ordinary dealer dealing drugs. D was in possession, for the purposes of dealing, of substantial quantities of two Class A drugs and whilst six years was a severe sentence it was not manifestly excessive.Decision accordingly.