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Thursday, 14 September, 2000, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Actor loses drugs appeal

Alford played Billy Ray in London's Burning
Actor John Alford has lost an appeal against his conviction for supplying cocaine and cannabis to a bogus Arab prince.

The former London's Burning star was jailed for nine months last year after being exposed by a Sunday newspaper reporter.

Next stop Europe

John Alford

Three appeal court judges in London on Thursday dismissed his claim that he was the victim of an unfair trial.

They did not accept that the trial judge was wrong to rule that "entrapment evidence" was admissible.

The actor was said to have agreed to supply the "prince" with three wraps of cocaine and 12 grams of cannabis.

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Potter said Alford had "voluntarily and readily" accepted the situation presented by the bogus sheikh.

He said the actor displayed a familiarity with the dealing scene which "itself suggested a predisposition to be part of it".

The trial judge, he said, had imposed a lenient sentence after taking into account the circumstances in which the offences were committed.

'Dark Age journalism'

The prosecution and the News of the World were also represented by counsel at the hearing on Tuesday.

Alford, whose real name is John James Shannon, was convicted after unsuccessfully arguing that while "technically guilty" he was the victim of "Dark Age journalism" and should be cleared.

John Alford arrives at court
Appeal court judges dismiss Alford's claims of an unfair trial

When sentenced last May, Judge Stephen Robbins told the 27-year-old: "You were undoubtedly motivated by the desire to earn even more money than you were earning as a successful actor.

"There was a strong element of entrapment. But you willingly went along with the idea."

Alford said he was "devastated" following the appeal.

He left court accompanied by his friend, former boxing champion Terry Marsh.

The actor was refused an application to appeal to the House of Lords but he hinted that he may turn to the European courts.

Alford said: "This is what I have come to expect from the British judicial system - but this is just one round of the long, long fight that has been going on for three years.

"This ruling gives journalists with ulterior motives the right to incite crime with people of previous good behaviour."

"Next stop Europe," he added.

The News of the World was awarded costs for appearing in the appeal, to be paid out of central funds.

Alford has served his sentence.

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