Liverpool

Curtis Warren: Drugs baron's appeal rejected

Curtis Warren
Image caption Curtis Warren was jailed for 13 years in 2009

Jailed drugs baron Curtis Warren has lost a legal battle that would have led to his conviction being overturned.

Warren, from Liverpool, and five others were convicted of plotting to smuggle cannabis with a street value of £1m into Jersey.

The 47-year-old argued he should be freed because police in Jersey obtained key evidence by illegally bugging a car driven by his right-hand man.

However, his latest appeal was rejected by five law lords.

In February Warren's QC told the Supreme Court there was an abuse of process and argued a court stay - a suspension of proceedings - should have been granted.

The latest appeal concerns the Court of Appeal of Jersey's refusal to grant a stay.

In its judgement, Jersey's Judicial Committee of the Privy Council said a successful bid would "inevitably lead to the quashing of the convictions".

During Warren's trial, it was disclosed detectives wanted to bug his right-hand man Jonathan Welsh's car as he drove through France, Belgium and Holland to work on the drugs deal.

The other countries refused permission but Jersey officers bugged the car anyway. The illegally-recorded audio, although condemned by the trial judge, was admitted as evidence.

European bid

Despite rejecting the appeal, five Law Lords said there had been a "strong case" for granting the stay because the police were "unquestionably guilty of serious prosecutorial misconduct".

In a statement, they said: "The board stresses its condemnation of the police misconduct in this case. It was a sustained and deliberate act of law-breaking.

Image caption Warren was placed under surveillance after arriving on the island in 2007

"The outcome of this appeal should not be seen to condone or overlook such behaviour.

"It should not be taken by Jersey police as any kind of signal that they can repeat this kind of conduct with impunity."

Speaking after the judgement, Warren's barrister Tony Barraclough said: "I have discussed it with him and he wants to go to Europe.

"Now that he has been knocked back on this there is the confiscation hearing - they want around £200m from him."

Warren was jailed for 13 years in December 2009. He had recently been released from a 16-year sentence for drug trafficking when he was arrested.

In a joint statement after the judgement was released, States of Jersey Police and HM attorney general of Jersey said they were pleased the men would be staying in prison.

"Warren, the ringleader of the plot, is a prolific, career criminal who made himself extremely wealthy by trading in illegal drugs, targeting some of the most vulnerable in society and bringing misery to countless families," they said.

An independent inquiry into the force's conduct in obtaining evidence is currently ongoing.

"We await the outcome of that inquiry," they added.

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