Peacehaven man jailed for firearms offence has sentence appeal turned down

Court case
Court case

A Peacehaven entrepreneur, jailed and linked to an “organised crime gang” after being caught trafficking a sawn off shotgun, has been told his nine-year sentence was not a day too long.

Ryan Carden used his veneer of respectability as the boss of a refuse business to disguise his connection to a “substantial organised crime gang”.

Carden, 30, of Shannon Close, Telscombe Cliffs, Peacehaven, had a “superficial charm” disguising “an element of menace”, London’s Appeal Court heard.

He made “serious threats to police” after being arrested, but was acquitted of drugs offences, said Lady Justice Sharp.

However, he was convicted of aiding and abetting the transfer of a sawn-off shotgun and ammunition and jailed for nine years at Lewes Crown Court in November 2013.

Today he asked Lady Justice Sharp, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker and Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing to cut his sentence, claiming it was far too tough.

Having been cleared of the drugs charges, he ought not to have been sentenced on the basis that he was a member of a drugs gang, his lawyers argued.

However, Lady Justice Sharp said it was “not correct” that he had been punished for involvement in the drugs world.

He was sentenced for the firearms offence of which he was found guilty “in the context of the activity the judge had identified”, she added.

Slamming his behaviour, she went on: “There was no lawful use for the weapon.

“The intention was to use it to intimidate, threaten and if necessary cause serious injury or worse.

“That was in connection with a serious organized crime gang supplying class A and class B drugs in Brighton and Hove and around the city.

“The fact that it was not used was only due to the skill of the police operation.”

Dismissing the appeal, she concluded: “Carden could not benefit from a reduction for pleading guilty.

“The sentence was entirely appropriate, in accordance with principle and not manifestly excessive.”

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