Matthews, R v, Court of Appeal - Criminal Division, February 04, 1999, [1999] EWCA Crim 485

Resolution Date:February 04, 1999
Issuing Organization:Criminal Division
Actores:Matthews, R v
 
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Page 1

No: 98/5914/Y2

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

CRIMINAL DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

The Strand

London WC2

Tuesday 23rd February 1999

B E F O R E :

MR JUSTICE CURTIS

and

MR JUSTICE SACHS

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R E G I N A

- v -

JOE MATTHEWS

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Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of

Smith Bernal Reporting Limited

180 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HG

Tel No: 0171 421 4040 Fax No: 0171 831 8838

(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

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MR M SKELLEY appeared on behalf of the Appellant

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JUDGMENT

(As Approved by the Court)

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Crown Copyright

JUDGMENT

MR JUSTICE CURTIS: Joe Matthews is 19 years of age. This is an appeal with the leave of the single judge against a sentence of three years' detention in a young offender institution passed upon him on 28th August 1998 by the Crown Court at Reading. It followed a plea of guilty at Reading Magistrates' Court on 23rd March 1998 and their committal for sentence to the Crown Court.

The background to this case is that the appellant was a student and of completely good character. We have read his character references which are highly supportive. On 3rd April 1998 police officers went to a flat in Reading. The appellant arrived and was found to have one kilogramme of cannabis in his rucksack. He was arrested. A further 4.85 kilogrammes of cannabis, a set of scales and £1,870 cash was found at his parents' house. They of course were wholly ignorant of this appellant's activities. The total value of the cannabis recovered was said to be about £25,000.

The appellant's version of the facts was as follows: (1) He took to buying cannabis in small quantities in Reading, the start of a pattern only too familiar to this court which results in tragedies such as are now revealed in this case. (2) He was put under pressure by one or more drug dealers in Reading to purchase cannabis for them in Southend and bring it back to Reading. (3) He was not to be paid for this but hoped to receive some cannabis suitable for his personal consumption. (4) The money for drugs, including the £1,870 we have referred to, was money belonging to these dealers who were pressurising him.

At the court below the prosecution indicated that they were not in a position to dispute the appellant's version of events. They further accepted that there was no evidence of any previous dealing and no other "benefit" as statutorily...

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