Northern Ireland

Money and diesel launderer's jail term appeal refused

Scales of Justice

A man who laundered hundreds of thousands of pounds has lost his appeal against being jailed for a year.

Senior judges rejected an argument that there was a disparity between the sentence imposed on Leonard Warwick and one of his co-accused.

Warwick, 42, pleaded guilty to 17 charges including evading VAT and concealing criminal profits.

He was sentenced last November for what was described as a "large scale" diesel and money laundering operation.

Warwick, a chronic alcoholic of low intelligence, was given 12 months in prison after he agreed to spend a further year on probation.

But his lawyers challenged the sentence on the basis that one of his co-accused, Anthony Michael Fox, 40, of Orritor Road, Cookstown received a suspended jail term.

Fox, who was described as driving oil-filled lorries for his father, had pleading guilty to evading the duty on diesel and concealing the proceeds of crime and criminal property.

It was set out how Warwick had been "exploited" to use his and other identities to open the various bank accounts.

Cog

The trial judge said that while he was "an important cog in the machine he was by no means an organiser".

Warwick had put a total of £685,000 through six accounts he set up.

Refusing his application on Friday, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge was entitled to take the view that his culpability was greater than Anthony Fox's because he was involved in opening the accounts.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan also pointed to Warwick's "significant record" for dishonesty offences stretching back more than 20 years.

He said: "Having regard to the facts there were clearly two material distinctions between this appellant and Anthony Fox.

"It's our view that there is no sense of grievance which might be considered to be justified as a result of the fact the learned trial judge took a merciful view in imposing a suspended sentence on him (Fox)."