Confiscation success – 80% reduction in amount
£3m claimed, £600,000 finally agreed upon with no ‘hidden assets’ for lead conspirator in drug importation ring.
Our client was represented by a different legal team when he pleaded guilty to playing a ‘leading role’ in a conspiracy to evade the prohibition on importing Class A drugs for which he received a 17 year custodial sentence.
We were instructed in relation to the confiscation proceedings. The Crown asserted that the recoverable amount was £3 million and our client’s available assets were £135,000. The Crown wanted the Crown Court to find that our client had ‘hidden assets’ and to order the full benefit figure against him.
After a forensic analysis of the prosecution’s case, including receiving advice from a drug expert, we were able to show that the drugs were inherently overvalued by the police and, with reference to case authorities, that the ‘wholesale’ rather than ‘street’ value was the proper valuation of benefit in this case.
As a result of our efforts, the Crown agreed a revised benefit figure of just over £600,000 with our client’s available assets dropping to £96,000, which negated the hidden assets issue. The Court ordered 12 months’ imprisonment in default; as opposed to up to 14 years which could have been imposed otherwise.
David Bloom, assisted by Charlotte Bennett, instructed Nigel Power, QC leading Jonathan Brownson of 7 Harrington Street Chambers in this case.