Hardison, R. v, Court of Appeal - Criminal Division, May 25, 2006, [2006] EWCA Crim 1502

Resolution Date:May 25, 2006
Issuing Organization:Criminal Division
Actores:Hardison, R. v


No: 200504343 C4/200502696 C4

Neutral Citation Number: [2006] EWCA Crim 1502



Royal Courts of Justice


London, WC2

Date: Thursday, 25th May 2006

B E F O R E:




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Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of

Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited

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The APPELLANT appeared in person on the application for leave to appeal against conviction

MR R FORTSON appeared on behalf of the APPELLANT on the appeal against sentence

MR R BARTON appeared on behalf of the CROWN

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J U D G M E N T1. MR JUSTICE KEITH: On 18th March 2005 at Lewes Crown Court, after a trial lasting eight weeks before Judge Niblett and a jury, the appellant was convicted on three counts of producing controlled drugs (counts 1, 3 and 4), one count of possessing controlled drugs with intent to supply them to another (count 6), one count of possessing controlled drugs (count 7) and one count of being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the export of goods (count 8). The goods to which count 8 related were also controlled drugs.

  1. The controlled drugs to which all these counts related were all specified as Class A drugs in Schedule 2 to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The drugs which he was convicted of producing in counts 1, 3 and 4 were known, in their shortened version, as 2C-B, 2C-I and LSD. The drugs which he was convicted of possessing with intent to supply in count 6 were approximately 145,000 paper tabs of LSD. The drugs which he was convicted of possessing in count 7 were 0.369 grams of 5-Methoxy-DMT. And the drugs which he was convicted of exporting in count 8 were tablets of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. He was acquitted on two other counts of producing Class A drugs, namely DMT (count 2) and mescaline (count 5). He was refused leave to appeal against his convictions, and he now renews that application for leave to appeal.

  2. The appellant returned to the Crown Court for sentencing on 22nd April 2005. He was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment on counts 1, 3 and 4, to 15 years' imprisonment on count 6, to 1 year's imprisonment on count 7, and to 7 years' imprisonment on count 8. He was ordered to serve all these terms concurrently with each other, making 20 years' imprisonment in all. He appeals against his sentences with the leave of the single judge.

  3. This was, in many respects, an unusual case. Despite the grave charges which the appellant faced, he chose to represent himself at his trial, though counsel was instructed on his behalf when it came to sentence. The laboratory which the appellant had established in his home was described by a forensic chemist from the Forensic Science Service as the most complex he had ever encountered. The level of production was said to be so high that the forensic chemist had not been able to analyse all the items found, since that would have taken years to do.

  4. As with many major crimes, it was a matter of chance which brought the appellant to the attention of the police. Two passages were sent by FedEx to the United States. They arrived at the FedEx hub in Memphis, Tennessee. There, they were selected for random inspection by the law enforcement authorities. They were found to contain tablets of ecstasy. One of the packages was addressed to Tom Cartenson at an address in Idaho, and the authorities arranged for it to be delivered there. When it arrived, Cartenson was arrested, and the package was traced back to the appellant by documents found at that address. In addition, a thumbprint which was subsequently identified to be the appellant's was found on paper within the package.

  5. Having traced the package containing the tablets of ecstasy back to the appellant, the appellant's home near Brighton was kept under surveillance. Eventually, he was arrested at a cafe in Hove and taken to Brighton Police Station. He was interviewed a number of times but he declined to answer the questions he was asked. When the police searched his home, they found a fully functioning laboratory of some sophistication with chemicals stored in the garage. The forensic scientist from the Forensic Science Service, Dr Ian Griffin, concluded that the appellant had produced six Class A drugs at the premises, ie, drugs of the kinds to which counts 1 to 5 related, as well as the Class A drug known as 2C-H. They also found the drugs to which counts 6 and 7 related. In addition, the police found £9,450 in cash under a mattress which the appellant was to say was the last payment for his latest run of 2C-H, though it is unclear to us whether he meant by that that this was to enable to him to purchase chemicals for the next production run of 2C-H or whether this was payment for the last consignment of 2C-H which he had supplied.

  6. That was not the only evidence to suggest that this was a commercial enterprise on a large scale. Uncontested evidence shows that the appellant had purchased chemicals at a cost of £38,386.70 from one company alone. Indeed, the Crown's evidence was that the appellant's expenditure -- by which we assume was meant his expenditure in connection with drug production -- was assessed at £70,000 in the two years or so prior to his arrest. We acknowledge that that evidence may have included other expenditure as well, and we have therefore put that evidence to one side.

  7. Although the prosecution was put to proof on very many matters, the appellant did not dispute much of the evidence. Indeed, he was to say that though he had done some of the things alleged against him, he had no sense of guilt whatsoever. That was a reference to what he claimed was his belief in the use of plants with hallucinogenic qualities, which had been used by folk medicine healers in primitive societies. He claimed to regard the bond between man and such plants as a sacred one, although the prosecution was to say that his assertions about the benefits which he claims the use of such drugs generate was just an excuse for his commercial production of hard drugs on a large scale. Indeed, the evidence suggested that the appellant's production of the drugs was the manufacture of them by a chemical synthesis -- in other words, the artificial production of components from their constituents rather than by the extraction of natural products from plants.

  8. The appellant's portmanteau defence to these charges was that he was a victim of society's war on drugs. We all...

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