Sentences cut in £4m drugs trial

Four men jailed for their involvement in a £4m Northamptonshire drugs ring have had their jail terms cut at the Appeal Court.

Drugs were seized from a lorry before more were found at properties in Kettering and nearby Mawsley in 2009.

Ringleader Amit Kotecha, 32, of Chambers Hill, Mawsley, was originally jailed for 18 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.

His sentence was cut to 15 years and three other sentences were reduced.

The court heard in March this year that the drugs were seized from a lorry in Ramsgate, Kent, and in a follow-up operation by police, large quantities of cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine were found at properties in Kettering and nearby Mawsley in 2009.

'Manifestly excessive'

Amit Kotecha's brother Ravi Kotecha, 27, of Chambers Hill, Mawsley, and Freshkumar Kakkad, 46, of Cambiun Close, Kettering, were each jailed for 21 years for the same offences, having been convicted following a trial.

Both their sentences were reduced to 17 years.

Rohit Suvania, 31, of Mitchell Street, Kettering, was jailed for 18 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis. His sentence was reduced to 14 years.

Lord Justice Pitchford, Mr Justice Wilkie and Mr Justice Holroyde, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, cut the sentences of all four men, having concluded that the starting point of Amit Kotecha's sentence had been too high.

The appeal judges ruled that the 24-year starting point applied to Amit Kotecha, before allowing a discount for pleading guilty, had been "manifestly excessive."

At the original trial Judge Richard Bray said: "It is rare for the police to arrest dealers so high up as yourselves.

"When this happens, the courts have a duty to pass severe deterrent sentences to reflect the harm caused by the distribution of drugs and to serve as a warning to others."

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