Rockhampton drug trafficker's sentence reduced after appeal

A REPEAT drug trafficker had a year cut off his sentence after the Court of Appeal found the operation was smaller than originally claimed.

Benjamin Frances Carey was sentenced to 10 years' jail for his involvement in a major Rockhampton meth, cannabis and ecstasy ring.

Carey - along with kingpin Jason Robert Ryan and participants Darron Smith, Juan Bright and Corie Weldon - leased a house for the operation and bought at least $73,000 worth of methylamphetamine.

Carey was one gang's leader, answering phones, buying and selling drugs, working shifts and moving the drugs around.

He was aware there was a gun hidden in the house and possessed a clip-seal bag of meth when he was arrested.

During Carey's period of trafficking, between August 2010 and February 2011, he was on bail for a trafficking offence he committed in 2009.

Ryan was given a 12-year sentence.

But he successfully appealed after the sentencing judge said the operation was worth about $1 million.

Ryan claimed the drugs were sold for between $4500 and $7000 per ounce rather than the $10,000 the prosecutor claimed.

Carey appealed on the same grounds, and Justice Margaret McMurdo agreed.

However, the judge found while Carey's sentence should be reduced to account for the sentencing judge's mistake, his reoffending should be taken into account through pushing back his parole eligibility date.

"The applicant's present trafficking, which occurred over a five-month period, was unquestionably serious even allowing for the judge's error in authoritatively concluding that it involved at least hundreds of thousands of dollars and probably more than a million dollars," she said.

"Such persistent flagrant disrespect for the law warrants a firm sentence to deter both him and others."

His 10-year sentence was reduced to nine years. He will not be able to apply for parole until he has served six years, on May 24, 2019.

- APN NEWSDESK



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