Brid drug dealer loses appeal

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A drug addict and dealer who blamed his offending on the fact his family had emigrated to New Zealand today lost an appeal against his prison sentence.

Christopher Michael Morgan, 52, of Hilderthorpe Road, Bridlington, was jailed for 35 months at Hull Crown Court last July.

He had admitted having cocaine and heroin with intent to supply and five counts of benefits fraud.

But he took his case to the Court of Appeal in a bid for a cut in his jail time.

In written arguments put before three top judges, lawyers said the sentence did not fully reflect the ‘unusual personal mitigation’ in his case.

Reading from the papers, Mr Justice Knowles said: “He was born in this country before his whole family emigrated to New Zealand.

“He then left New Zealand for a short time and did not complete relevant forms.

“When he returned to New Zealand to be with his family, he was denied citizenship. He had to return to the UK alone.”

Morgan’s lawyers said he had been left unable to cope alone and resorted to drug use, which lay behind all of his offending.

But the judge, sitting at the Court of Appeal with Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Hickinbottom, said the mitigation had already been taken account of.

“It is reflected in the sentences which the judge arrived at, which, in different circumstances, could have been higher,’ he continued.

“We regard the sentencing as unimpeachable for offences which were rightly described as serious.”

The court heard Morgan had been caught with 17 packages of heroin, weighing a total of 3.67 grams, and a very small amount of cocaine.

His frauds were in connection with his use of a separate identity to claim more than £12,000 benefits.

The sentence was upheld.

Morgan and his legal team were not in court for the hearing of his case.