'Methamphetamine queen' appeals 20-year sentence

By Brendan Manning

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A dominatrix drug "queen" from Woodville and her P-dealing boyfriend have appealed against their sentences.

Jolene Rose, described at her Palmerston North High Court trial last year as a "methamphetamine queen" and her boyfriend, Sean Christiaan Murray, appealed against their sentences at the Court of Appeal at Auckland yesterday.

Last June, Rose, then 37, was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment with a minimum term of 10 years, and had to forfeit more than $760,000 in cash she had hidden around her rural Woodville property.

She was found to have supplied at least 8.4 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Rose was accused of, but denied, dealing methamphetamine from August 2008, but pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing cannabis for the purpose of supply.

At her trial before a jury at the Hight Court at Palmerston North last April, she was found guilty of 22 charges including supplying methamphetamine, possessing the drug for supply and 20 firearms-related charges.

Murray, then 43, was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to 23 firearms and drugs-related charges.

At her Palmerston North trial, Rose's lawyer said she was a sex worker who offered dominatrix services and acted as a cannabis dealer.

However, Crown prosecutor Daniel Flinn described her as "the methamphetamine queen" and Murray, "the methamphetamine king".

Together, they presided over a drug empire involving the sale of millions of dollars worth of methamphetamine, Mr Flinn said.

At the Court of Appeal at Auckland yesterday, Rose's lawyer Dr Donald Stevens QC said her sentence was manifestly excessive.

The quantity of methamphetamine involved in the offending was determined by the judge without giving Rose's counsel an opportunity to be heard on the issue, Dr Stevens said.

The period of time over which the offending took place was also determined without sufficient evidence, and cash found at the property was deemed profit from dealing methamphetamine, as opposed to turnover, Dr Stevens said.

Murray's lawyer Paul Surridge said at sentencing that his client received a substantially high starting point - 12 years - considering his role in the offending.

"He was not a runner, he was not an in-between person, he was not an accountant, he didn't even bury the cash."

Murray was the man in charge of security and "taking the garbage out" who had an unhealthy interest in firearms, Mr Surridge said.

He had pleaded guilty to the drugs charges only out of a mistaken sense of loyalty to Rose, his lawyer said.

Crown lawyer Peter Marshall said there was a "wealth of evidence" to suggest Rose was running a "massive operation" and her sentence was "well within the available range".

Murray's sentence was also well within the appropriate range, given he purchased vehicles and furniture for the operation, set up sophisticated security systems, supplied a huge number (23) of firearms and introduced new clients, Mr Marshall said.

Court of Appeal Justices Patrick Keane, Lynton Stevens and Pamela Andrews reserved their decision.

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