Counsel at No5 Barristers’ Chambers invoked a rarely used piece of legislation during a drug dealing trial in which jury tampering became evident.
Martin Liddiard led the prosecution in the trial of Leslie Allen Jnr, a well-known boxing promoter, for wholesale Class A and Class B drug dealing.
On the second day of the jury deliberation at Warwick Crown Court, one juror sent a note expressing concerns about ‘juror number one’. A further note, in similar terms, also arrived from a second juror.
Following concerns that juror number one may have recorded discussions on a mobile phone, the judge ordered it to be examined by a police hi-tech unit.
It uncovered a recording of a phone call the previous night, discussing jury voting and the number of dissenters needed for Allen ‘to walk’. Judge Lockhart said it showed ‘a concerted attempt to tamper with the jury’ and the jury was discharged.
Invoking extremely rarely used powers, Mr Liddiard invited the judge to find as a fact that “tampering” had occurred under section 46(3)(a) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and further invited him to proceed as the tribunal of fact under section 46(3)(b) and complete the trial without a jury. The judge acceded to both requests. It is understood that this legislation has only ever been used a handful of times previously.
Allen, 62, the son of the late Bedworth boxing hero Les Allen, had denied charges of possessing cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply and a further charge of having a prohibited weapon, a pepper spray.
Two large bags had been found in the kitchen of Allen’s home, which held a number of grey heat-sealed bags of cannabis, with a street value of £50,000. There was also a block of high-purity cocaine found in the boot of Allen’s X-type Jaguar, with a street value of around £100,000. Elsewhere in the house, a pepper spray was found in a desk drawer.
Allen’s own security cameras had captured him carrying the bags from his car to the kitchen, where he was seen looking into one of them. Mr Liddiard also pointed out that Allen’s phone had messages on it, which he said showed he was a wholesale drug dealer.
Following the discharge of the jury, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC spent a day weighing up the evidence before finding Allen guilty of all three charges.
Allen, of Longford Road, Coventry, was sentenced to 13 years.
For more information on the case, visit https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/les-allen-coventry-drugs-bedworth-15466236
Martin Liddiard is a member of Crime Group at No5 Barristers’ Chambers. To view his profile, visit https://www.no5.com/barristers/barrister-details/199-martin-liddiard/