Drug importation sentence – not a victim of modern slavery
Our client was arrested by Border Force officers at Gatwick Airport carrying approximately 0.5kg of cocaine internally on a flight from Trinidad and Tobago.
Incriminating text messages were found on her phone that suggested that she was closely involved with other people within the crime group attempting to smuggle drugs into the UK and perhaps she was further up the chain than being a mere drugs mule.
Our client spent 6 months on remand before she instructed us. Once we were involved she was identified as a potential modern slave and we successfully applied for bail whilst awaiting a decision from the National Crime Agency as to whether she was a victim of modern slavery. Ultimately the decision was negative.
On the first day of trial the prosecution conceded that she had not been a more senior member of the organisation, considering the amount of risk that was undertaken to transport the drugs to the UK.
Our client pleaded guilty on the basis that she was under instruction at all times, was at the lowest end of scale and acted on the credible belief of threats to her family and herself. The Judge sentenced her to three and a half years’ imprisonment, far below the starting point in the sentencing guideline, but taking into account her basis of plea, notwithstanding the NCA’s decision that she was not a victim of modern slavery.
Claudia Barker and Daisy Jones prepared the case. Neelim Sultan of 1MCB was counsel.