Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ex-NSW drug investigator loses appeal

11:48am August 13, 2015
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Disgraced former top narcotics investigator Mark Standen, who was jailed for plotting to import 300kg of drugs into Australia, has lost his bid to overturn his sentence and conviction.

The NSW Crime Commission's former assistant director of investigations launched an appeal after he was sentenced to a maximum of 22 years in 2011 for a number of offences, including conspiring to import 300kg of pseudoephedrine and perverting the course of justice.

But on Thursday, the Court of Criminal Appeal rejected this bid finding there had not been a miscarriage of justice nor was his sentence manifestly excessive.

In one ground of appeal, Standen argued that Justice Bruce James should have dismissed the jury on the 15th week of the trial after they complained of the "serious effects" it was having on their lives "emotionally, physically and financially".

The jury, who were initially told the trial would run for up to 14 weeks, wrote a note saying many of them were being forced to work nights to retain positions at work and were under increasing pressure from their employers.

One juror had to move out of their apartment after being unable to meet rent on court salary.

"Morale is low amongst all jurors and concerns are held for holidays booked," they wrote.

But while the CCA conceded the note expressed "frustration" with communication about the trial's length, it found there was no basis to conclude it affected their impartial judgement.

During the trial, which lasted almost five months, Standen spent 25 days in the witness box, where he "lied without pause", the crown said at the time.

The court heard the 57-year-old was set to make millions from the plot to import the pseudoephedrine from Pakistan in a container of rice, which arrived in Sydney in April 2008.

In fact, the cargo did not contain the drug, but the judge found Standen and his two co-conspirators had believed it would be in the shipment.

In emails, phone conversations and text messages, the trio used "oblique and coded language" and adopted pseudonyms, including "Maurice" for Standen.

Before his incarceration, Standen had a difficult family life, with his wife battling a long-term alcohol addiction and psychiatric issues.

In sentencing him, Justice James also noted he faced solitary confinement in prison and has suffered "disgrace and humiliation".

Standen, who did not appear in court for the judgement, will not be eligible for release until June 2024.
© AAP 2015

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