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Key decisions

  • Jackson v R [2020] NSWCCA 230 
  • Saffin v R [2020] NSWCCA 246

Jackson v R [2020] NSWCCA 230 

Sentencing – elderly offenders – crushing sentence 

In this decision the Court of Criminal Appeal (‘CCA’) has pointed out that although advanced age can be relevant in many ways, it does not follow that elderly offenders are necessarily entitled to a lower sentence.

The applicant pleaded guilty and was sentenced for importing about 700kg of cocaine (the equivalent of about 548kg pure) and dealing with $60,000. He and his co-offenders organised the importation of the drugs from Tahiti by secreting it in a catamaran. 

The applicant got a 40 per cent discount for the combination of his plea and for past and future assistance to authorities. He was sentenced to imprisonment for 19 years and six months, with a non-parole period of 12 years and six months. He appealed on grounds including that the sentence was manifestly excessive. There was also a challenge to the sentencing judge’s characterisation of his role. That point is not discussed here, except to observe that the CCA (Rothman J, Johnson J agreeing with additional remarks, Bell P agreeing with both) held that it was accurate to describe the applicant as ‘the principal [of the drug enterprise] in Australia’ – and in fact that may have been an understatement (at [55]-[57]) or even a gross understatement (at [64]).

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