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Police May Appeal Billionaire's Drug Sentence

Police Consider Appealing Billionaire Drug Importer’s Sentence

The police say they plan to review the case of the billionaire caught importing drugs into the country next week to see whether they can mount a legal appeal to the sentence.

Police are the most recent group to raise eyebrows at the sentencing of the as yet unnamed billionaire who was discharged without conviction after being caught with 103 grams of cannabis last week.

According to Scoop sources most of the stash was not seized at Auckland Airport, but rather was found aboard his superyacht moored at the Viaduct Baisn.

National Police Prosecutions Manager Neville Trendle said today he would review the case next week after he receives Judge Peter Harvey’s sentencing notes.

From there Trendle and the Police Chief Legal Advisor David Kerr would determine whether an appeal will be made.

If an appeal was made the police would forward the case file to the Solicitor General who would then have to approve the decision.

Mr Trendle said the police could appeal against a discharge without conviction only if the appeal was based on a question of law. Previously there have been very few cases appealed in this manner, although the act of reviewing a judge’s decision is not uncommon.

If an appeal was taken it would probably focus on whether the exercise of the discretion to discharge without conviction was wrong in law, he said.

Mr Trendle would not comment on Judge Harvey’s seemingly light sentence for the billionaire saying this was a matter he would examine next week.

Police are not the only group unhappy about the sentence given to the billionaire drug importer.

Minister of Justice Phil Goff said he was considering a review of comparative sentencing in the light of the ruling, and groups arguing for the legalisation of cannabis have also criticised the ruling saying it is clearly inconsistent.

At the time of his sentencing foreign media reports quoted Judge Harvey telling the suspect to enjoy his freedom when discharging the man.

``Enjoy the fresh air,'' Harvey told the suspect.

``Our harbor is a wonderful place and I'm sure you're out there enjoying it. Don't let anything get in the way of you and the atmosphere”

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