Cocaine smuggler's appeal fails

AN IPSWICH man who had more than £160,000 worth of cocaine from Peru sent to him in the post has failed in a challenge against his conviction.Andrew Brown, of Middleton Close, Ipswich, was found guilty of attempting to possess cocaine with intent to supply at Ipswich Crown Court last March and was jailed for eight years.

AN IPSWICH man who had more than £160,000 worth of cocaine from Peru sent to him in the post has failed in a challenge against his conviction.

Andrew Brown, of Middleton Close, Ipswich, was found guilty of attempting to possess cocaine with intent to supply at Ipswich Crown Court last March and was jailed for eight years.

His legal team challenged the conviction as "unsafe" on the basis that the judge misdirected the jury during his summing up.

Top judges were told that directions on 42-year-old Brown's previous bad character, and a "basis of plea" made by his co-accused - Tony Knights - meant he had not received a fair trial.

Lord Justice Thomas, sitting with Judge Peter Beaumont and Mr Justice King at London's Court of Appeal, agreed that the direction on the basis of plea had been wrong.

But he rejected arguments that it rendered the conviction unsafe, concluding that the court had "no hesitation" in dismissing the appeal.

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The court heard that police and customs officers intercepted a package sent to Brown's home address which had been posted in Peru.

It contained around 476 grams of cocaine hidden in toiletry bottles, with a street value of £163,000.

On March 26, 2006, it was delivered to his address by an undercover police officer posing as a postman but had been fitted with a tracking device. Knights picked it up later that day.

The next day Brown and Knights - who regularly played golf together - were arrested.

Brown denied any wrongdoing, and said he couldn't remember the package being delivered because he was suffering stress at the time due to a separate crown court trial.

His denials led to evidence of his previous bad character being revealed at Ipswich Crown Court.

Knights had indicated he would plead guilty on the basis that he had been trying to import a sex-stimulant, similar to Viagra, from Spain, and had not known the package contained Class A drugs, an account which was not accepted by the crown.

Knights was convicted of the same offence as Brown and received a six-year sentence.

Have you been effected by drugs? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN.