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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February, 2005, 18:14 GMT
Millionaire loses drug appeal bid
Robert Briggs-Price
Briggs-Price lost appeals against conviction and sentencing
A Notts hotelier who plotted to bring millions of pounds worth of heroin into the UK has failed to have his conviction overturned.

Robert Briggs-Price, 50, of Great North Road, Newark was jailed for 17 years for conspiracy to smuggle heroin.

His lawyers said his conviction was unsafe due to a series of procedural errors at his trial and his sentence was also "manifestly excessive".

But all grounds of appeal were dismissed by Lord Justice Thomas.

The Court of Appeal in London heard allegations Briggs-Price had been "framed" by undercover customs and excise officers in the run up to his trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

'Nothing new'

But Lord Justice Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Jack and Judge David Radford QC, rejected claims the jury were not fully informed of the central role of a man, known as E, in the smuggling operation.

Lord Justice Thomas said nothing new had been produced for the appeal despite an extensive "fishing expedition" by Briggs-Price's lawyers.

He also said it was "not arguable" the trial judge should have excluded evidence during the April 2003 trial about the distribution network that Briggs-Price had set up for a separate cigarette smuggling operation he ran.

And he also rejected arguments that two conversations Briggs-Price was said to have had with undercover officers should not have been admitted as evidence.

Home bugged

Briggs-Price's legal team said he had never been in trouble for drugs before, and should have received a sentence much lower than 17 years.

Lord Justice Thomas said 17 years was a tough sentence, but it was not "manifestly excessive" and should not be cut.

He did quash a conviction, and a three-month sentence, for contempt of court.

Briggs-Price, who owned Millgate House Hotel, in Millgate, Notts, planned to bring in heroin from Holland in lorries for a 10m profit.

He was snared after customs officers bugged several meetings at his home.

Hotelier admits smuggling charge
23 Apr 04 |  Nottinghamshire

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