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Appeal judges slash sentence of Highgate man jailed for heroin and cocaine plot

PUBLISHED: 15:56 17 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:51 17 February 2016

Royal Courts of Justice. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Royal Courts of Justice. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Notice: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Highgate man who was jailed for taking part in a huge cocaine and heroin dealing plot has had his sentenced slashed by appeal judges today.

Gunnel Ibrahim, 47, of Sandstone Place, on the Whittington Estate, was jailed for 10-and-a-half years for his role in a drug running conspiracy.

But his jail term was cut by 18 months today when Lord Justice Simon said it appeared that he and his co-conspirator, Turgay Cifci, had been sentenced on the basis that their crimes in Hackney were gang-related.

There was no evidence that they had been part of Turkish crime organisations which have caused havoc on the streets of Hackney, he said.

The Court of Appeal heard Cifci, 47, of Mile End, and Ibrahim handled a kilo of cocaine and 4kg of heroin.

They were caught when a holdall containing the drugs was handed by Ibrahim to Cifci in Homerton Road while they were being watched by police.

Sentencing them for two plots to supply Class A drugs, a judge at the Old Bailey said drug dealing in Hackney was controlled by two violent Turkish gangs.

Their sentenced had to reflect their involvement in serious and organised crime, he ruled.

Appealing, their lawyers argued that it was wrong to sentence them that way – and the Court of Appeal agreed.

“There was no factual basis for associating them with gangs or guns or violent crime,” said Lord Justice Simon.

“In our judgment, to say the sentences must reflect their involvement in serious and organised gang crime was an error of principle.

“In light of these matters, we consider it is appropriate to reduce the sentences to reflect what we consider to have been an error of principle.”

Cifci’s sentence was cut from 13-and-a-half years to 12 years and Ibrahim’s to nine years.

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