Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED February 5, 2003

A sentence of six years for facilitating entry of illegal entrants was stern but not manifestly excessive, a person of good character was usually used so as to avoid attention of the authorities.Appeal against sentence with leave of the single judge. On 19 March 2002 at Canterbury Crown Court before Recorder Henry Joy the defendant ('C') was convicted of being knowingly concerned in carrying out arrangements for facilitating entry of illegal entrants contrary to s.25(1)(a) Immigration Act 1971 and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment. C was a truck driver and on 22 December 2001 had arrived at Dover on a ferry from Calais. C was stopped by Customs and the cargo section of the truck was searched. Behind cases of wine and water 24 males of various nationalities were discovered. C was arrested and the van examined. Holes had been drilled so the illegal entrants could breath and the bulk head was such that when switched off C could talk to them. At interview and trial C denied all knowledge of the men and stated that he had been employed to collect the truck, already loaded, in Paris. He said he had done so once before but did not have any details of the person who employed him other than a phone number. C appealed sentence on the ground that it was manifestly excessive as he had no previous convictions.HELD: (1) It was often the case in these type of offences, and drug smuggling offences, that a person of good character would be used so as not to draw attention from the authorities. (2) In 2002 Parliament increased the sentence for this offence from a maximum of six years' to ten years' imprisonment. (3) Aggravating factors were the number of persons involved and the fact that the illegal entrants were strangers. C had no credit for a plea and whilst six years was a stern sentence it did not fall outside guidelines and was not manifestly excessive.Appeal dismissed.