Max Saffman of Olliers has today successfully argued at the Court of Appeal that a suspended sentence imposed on a defendant found guilty of conspiracy to supply drugs in the largest ‘legal high’ factory case in England and Wales was not unduly lenient. He appeared at the Court of Appeal in London this morning following a referral by the Attorney-General who considered the original sentence imposed on our client unduly lenient.
Largest ‘legal high’ case
The case was part of ‘Operation Maple’ and was the largest ‘legal highs’ case to date in England and Wales. It related to the sale of ‘legal highs’ through two web based companies initially set up in 2009. The site offered up to 35 different drugs for sale, claiming they were legal products offering a range of ‘enhanced stimulants’. The site had 18,500 registered customers and police suggested there were more than 90,000 sales of products globally.
Officers intercepted some of the packages being exported though the postal system and found them to contain controlled drugs. As a result police made a number of test purchases and discovered that 77 per cent contained illegal Class B drugs, in the same group as amphetamine and cannabis. Deliveries were traced back to the factory and police raided the site and seized significant quantities of drugs. Tablets and powders were found to contain banned substances including the class B stimulant Mephedrone, also known as ‘M-Cat’.
Whilst a number of the defendants received immediate custodial sentences, our client received a suspended sentence in June 2015 following extensive mitigation by Max Saffman who was instructed by Zita Spencer of Olliers.
However, the prosecution considered such sentence to be unduly lenient and accordingly referred the matter to the Attorney-General. The case was today heard at the Court of Appeal and following successful representations made by Mr Saffman, the Court upheld the original sentence and rejected the reference.
Max Saffman – Specialist Higher Court Advocate
Max Saffman has spent the last 10 years as a specialist Higher Court Advocate. He has extensive experience of the full range of criminal cases including murder, allegations of people smuggling, firearms offences, robbery and serious drugs conspiracies. Furthermore Max has now successfully appeared at the Court of Appeal on a number of occasions with significant success.
Zita Spencer – Specialist Serious Crime Solicitor
Max was instructed by Zita Spencer who represented the defendant in this case. Zita specialises in the defence of serious, complex fraud cases and financial crime, allegations of historic sexual abuse, murder and large scale drug conspiracies. She has defended some of the most high profile cases of recent years and developed a reputation for meticulous preparation and attention to detail.