Ralph Lloyd Simon was convicted last April and sentenced to two years on drugs offences. He received a reduced sentence after agreeing to give evidence in future drugs cases. But he challenged the Attorney General’s calculation of the extent to which he had benefited financially from his dealing at a hearing in the Royal Court.
Attorney General Robert MacRae argued that the 66-year-old former carpenter had benefited by more than £500,000 following years of dealing cannabis, which the court accepted he had been selling to people of ‘mature years’ said to be using the substance for relief of medical conditions.
Simon also claimed that he did not know some of the cannabis found in an out building had been left on his property until he spotted a holdall he did not recognise and that, similarly, the ecstasy tablets had been left there by someone else.
The tablets were said to be old and many had deteriorated, becoming powder.
In arriving at the total figure, the Attorney General’s report took into account six years of drug dealing – during which time, Simon admitted, he sold about nine ounces of cannabis resin a week – unexplained cash deposits into his bank accounts, the cash found at the property and a boat, Land Rover, car and pick-up truck he had recently purchased. The total amount that Simon was said to have benefited from drug dealing came to £559,823.
But Simon’s lawyer, Advocate David Steenson, argued that the calculation of the value of the cannabis sold over the years should not be based upon street value, but should rather reflect the profit on the sales, which would have been far lower.
Advocate Steenson contended it was ‘draconian’ to set the value of drugs proceeds by turnover, as the drugs would have had to have been purchased and some profits reinvested back into buying more.
But last week, Royal Court Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith said the court dismissed those arguments, adding that the proceeds of crime legislation was intended to be ‘severe’.
‘We were satisfied that the orders we were asked to make were proportionate, and given the nature of the regime, just,’ he said in his judgment.
And while Simon had contended that he kept his legitimate income from renting out properties and storage facilities separate from his ‘kitty of cash for drug dealing’, Jurats Sally Sparrow and Rozanne Thomas, who were sitting with the Commissioner, did not accept this argument.
‘The defendant’s evidence in this respect was entirely at odds with the chaotic state of affairs found by the police when the defendant’s home was searched, with drugs and cash in various quantities and amounts being found in numerous locations,’ the Commissioner said. ‘In our view, the assumption that all of this property was received as a result of or in connection with the charged offences was not shown to be incorrect by his evidence.’
The court upheld the Attorney General’s benefit figure of £559,823. However, only £113,064 of that was determined to be ‘recoverable assets’, including the cash seized and seen in bank accounts. The value of the boat and other vehicles was also taken into account while assessing the ‘recoverable assets’ figure. A confiscation order was set in that amount.