DRUG RUNNER’S SENTENCE STANDS
A BUSINESSMAN who got sucked into a £1.5m cocaine supply network has had his tough sentence backed by senior judges.
Christopher Wallace, 37, played a “significant” role in the plot to channel high-grade cocaine from Manchester to affluent Buckinghamshire.
He was arrested following an extensive undercover police probe when he ferried half a kilogram of cocaine to Beaconsfield.
Wallace said he was ‘bullied and pressured’ into playing his part by the gang’s boss, Brandon Temple, with whom he had been involved in a property restoration venture.
But Mrs Justice Andrews told London’s Appeal Court that, whatever pressure he was under, prosecutors had labelled him Temple’s ‘right-hand man’.
He helped to maintain important contacts and to ‘set up deals’, the court heard.
Wallace, of, Caldecott Road, Blackley, Manchester, was jailed for nine years at Manchester Crown Court last October after admitting conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Seven others were sentenced for their parts in the conspiracy – including Temple, who received a 10-year stretch.
Another of those locked up was Marc Hayden, of Heys Avenue, Swinton, who was sentenced to three years nine months and also appealed.
The 31-year-old was some way down the chain of command, the court heard, acting mainly as a courier.
It was Hayden who ferried a half-kilo stash of cocaine down to Beaconsfield for a ‘test run purchase’ by a prospective buyer.
But, unhappily for him, the ‘buyer’ turned out to be an undercover cop.
The gang was finally rolled up when they supplied another five-kilo consignment to the detective.
If processed and ‘ bashed down’, the total haul of cocaine could have been worth around £1.5m on the streets.
Both Wallace and Hayden challenged their sentences, claiming they were far too tough.
Hayden claimed he received insufficient credit for his guilty plea, while Wallace claimed the importance of his role was exaggerated.
But Mrs Justice Andrews, sitting with Lord Justice Treacy and Judge Eleri Rees QC, said it was ‘appropriate to regard him as playing a significant role’.
Hayden’s punishment was also neither wrong in principle, nor excessive.