Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED January 17, 2003

A sentence of three years was not manifestly excessive for possession of drugs with intention to supply where the defendant was not a drug dealer but had stored drugs for another dealer.Appeal by the defendant ('C'), with leave of a single judge, against sentence. On 12 July 2002, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Magistrates' Court, C pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of cannabis resin and cocaine with intent to supply and one count of possession of cannabis. On 15 August 2002 at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Crown Court, C was sentenced to one year for possession of cannabis resin with intent to supply and two years for possession of cocaine with intent to supply. The sentences were to run consecutively. On 6 April 2002 C's home had been searched by police. Nine ounces of cannabis resin, twenty grams of cocaine and a small amount of cannabis were discovered along with scales. C admitted that the cannabis and scales were his but that he was looking after the cocaine and cannabis resin for someone else. When passing sentence the judge acknowledged that C was not someone who went out on a daily basis to sell drugs; however, keeping drugs for another dealer was just as bad. Persons storing drugs could expect a prison sentence. C appealed on the ground that the sentences for possession should have run concurrently.HELD: (1) A low level street dealer, with no previous convictions, convicted of intent to supply cocaine to fund a drug habit, could expect a sentence in the region of six years, or four years on a guilty plea. C was not a street dealer and therefore merited a lesser sentence. However, the judge's opinion that there was not much to choose between C and a dealer was correct. (2) An aggregate sentence of two years would have been too lenient. The court was not persuaded that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive.Appeal dismissed.