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As it happened - Brookhouse sentencing day two
Updated 2:46pm Tuesday 28th January 2014 in News
This live event has finished
- Day two of an estimated two week hearing
- Mitigation for Richard Brookhouse and wife Diane Brookhouse expected today
- Court deciding how to sentence all members of heroin and cocaine ring
- Co-defendants Andrew Wilde, Karl Glennon, Paul Harwood and Steven Harwood also appear
That is the end of our live coverage today.
Thanks for joining us.
We will resume live coverage when sentences for the drug couple are decided.
It is estimated to be next week, but we will update you when a date has been set.
That ends mitigation for Mr and Mrs Brookhouse.
They are expected to be sentenced next week, although a date has not yet been confirmed.
Mr Christie finishes by saying Mrs Brookhouse has suffered 'fragile mental health'.
She has no previous convictions.
He says if there was money spent, it was hundreds of pounds a month, not thousands.
Mrs Brookhouse lost 'large amounts' of her money when a property was repossessed, the court heard.
She is now 'destitute', according to Mr Christie.
In no way could the Brookhouse lifestyle be described as luxurious. There may well have been some comforts, but it's a fact that the defendant and her children lived in rented accommodation.Simon Christie, defending
Talk turns back to Mrs Brookhouse's lifestyle.
Mr Christie says Mrs Brookhouse did not drive her husband to drug meetings, but was in the car.
He says she was 'in the vicinity' of the meetings when they took place, but did not participate directly in them.
When her family is mentioned, Mrs Brookhouse puts her head in her hands.
He says she has 'made arrangements' for her children to be looked after when she is imprisoned.
Judge Woodward said earlier he had made thorough checks and was satisfied that will be the case.
Mr Christie says the mum-of-two did not live an extravagant lifestyle with drug money.
Mr Christie says he expects Mrs Brookhouse to be sent to prison. It 'will happen', he says.
Mr Christie says he can't remember a case where so many sentencing options could be taken.
Simon Christie, who represented Mrs Brookhouse during trial when she was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, is representing her again today.
Her mitigation is starting now.
Defendants are back in the dock as we wait for Judge Woodward to resume proceedings.
Mitigation for Mrs Brookhouse expected this afternoon.
Court adjourned for lunch. Back at 2.05pm.
Court hears Wilde has been taking part in birds of prey rehabilitation programme while in prison.
Raised a hawk from 14 weeks, apparently.
Birds are used to increase 'well being' of prisoners suffering from low esteem.
He was in charge of the transport team. He was not a wholesaler or major drug dealer himself. He wasn't the top man in this operation. He received orders from the top man.Simon Berkson, defending Wilde
Mr Berkson says he wasn't involved in transporting drugs before this conspiracy.
Wilde organised the fishing rips to France as an 'easy way to make money', the court hears.
Due to a barrister needing to be at another court this afternoon, mitigation has turned to Andrew Wilde.
Simon Berkson is defending the man described as 'transport manager' of the operation.
Mr Flewitt says Mr Brookhouse has contacts at the 'highest level' and they were used to 'source' the large consignments.
Mr Swift says Mr Brookhouse has accepted he will be sentenced on the prosecution's version of how drugs were sourced.
Were under way again.
Likely to be a short session before a lunch break.
Defendants are being brought back into court.
Worth noting Diane Brookhouse has been allowed to sit in the public gallery during proceedings.
Defendants would normally be grouped in the dock.
Apparently, ongoing delay is because Mr Brookhouse is 'mulling things over'.
Has been asked to consider basis of guilty plea and how much of a role he is admitting to.
It is not yet clear on what basis each defendant will be sentenced and how serious their respective roles will be considered to be.
Sentences are likely to be handed out next week.
Judge Woodward has also given an indication of what sentences could be.
The court heard large scale importation is likely to result in a sentence of more than 20 years.
Judge Woodward has said the letter will not be considered.
Mr Swift said he advised Mr Brookhouse the letter was likely to have no bearing on the court case.
However, Mr Swift said it was an 'indication of happy times when he was living a law abiding life'.
A letter was handed to Judge Woodward from Mr Brookhouse.
Mr Swift said it referred to 'saving the life of a woman in Warrington by jumping into a canal'.
The letter also referred to a second life saving intervention by Mr Brookhouse of a drowning woman in Wales.
Steven Swift has been defending on behalf of Mr Brookhouse.
He says the defendant played a lesser role in the drugs ring than has been claimed.
Mr Swift conceded it remained a 'massive operation' and that Mr Brook house's involvement is aggravated by being sentenced to 22 years in prison for a previous drug conspiracy.
Still no sign of when proceedings will resume here, so let's have a quick recap.
There is no indication of when we will resume at this stage.
Mr Swift has been given as much time as he needs to speak to Mr Brookhouse.
A break has been called by Judge Woodward for Mr Swift to speak to his client.
Judge wants details of his guilty plea to be checked, in terms of how much of a role he is admitting too.
That will affect his case, and how co-conspirators are defended.
He also says the transport operation, run by Wilde, was already in operation, meaning Mr Brookhouse's role is reduced.
Mr Flewitt says if members of the gang needed drugs they would go to Mr Brookhouse as he had contacts and 'knew where to get them'.
Mr Swift says Mr Brookhouse's role is not as 'vital' as described, as he did not finance the operation, or contact directly foreign suppliers.
This wasn't the man who was sourcing the drugs and running the transport team.Steven Swift, defending
Mr Swift says Mr Brookhouse was 'not the dominating figure' of the operation.
Judge Woodward says he will give the document 'no consideration whatsoever' when deciding sentence.
Mr Swift said that advice was given to Mr Brookhouse.
Mr Swift, defending, has given letter from Mr Brookhouse to Judge Woodward.
It apparently refers to two occasions in which the defendant saved the life of drowning women, once in Warrington, once in Wales.
Mitigation for Mr Brookhouse is starting.
Mr Flewitt is now discussing how the co-defendants should be sentenced.
Wilde, Steven Harwood and Paul Harwood are said to have played significant roles.
Wilde was 'transport manager' dealing with importation.
Paul Harwood went on fishing trips to collect drug consignments.
Steven Harwood was involved in the trip when police swooped in Essex on April 6 last year, to seize 78kg of class A drugs.
You could take the view that as an equal partner of Mr Brookhouse, all that I have said about him applies to herNeil Flewitt QC, prosecuting
Also says she could be sentenced as 'performing a limited function under duress'.
Says her sentence is 'most difficult' to determine.
Mr Flewitt has now turned to Mrs Brookhouse.
Says court could take view she played a 'significant role' and should be sentenced as 'equal partner' of her husband in the enterprise.
Mr Flewitt says Mr Brookhouse has 'influences' on others in the ring, was connected to the source of the £15 million drugs seized by police and stood to benefit 'significantly' from its sale.
That means he deserves a high sentence, says Mr Flewitt.
Bit of legal wrangling going on at the minute.
Neil Flewitt QC and Judge Nicholas Woodward discussing starting points for sentence in terms of years for various defendants.
We're getting started. Mitigation for Richard Brookhouse, aged 45, first up.
Steven Swift is acting on behalf of Mr Brookhouse.
Barristers starting to come into court.
Usher rings down for defendants to be brought up from cells.
Start appears to be imminent.
To recap before we get going, the court is set to hear more about the illegal activities of Mr and Mrs Brookhouse.
Defence barristers will attempt give reasons for their behaviour when we get going.
Just hearing the start for today's hearing has been delayed until 10.50am.
See here for a reminder of yesterday's action
Morning and welcome to Warrington Crown Court for day two of the hearing to sentence husband and wife Richard and Diane Brookhouse, and other members of the operation that imported large amounts of cocaine and heroin into the northwest from France.
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