8 defendants were sentenced on 26 June 2023 to a total of 83 years and 5 months’ imprisonment for their involvement in an organised crime group which supplied kilograms of cocaine into York and plotted to produce cannabis on a commercial scale.
Father and son team, Michael and James Leaf, were the lynchpin of the operation where, unbeknownst to them and their fellow conspirators, the police were listening to and recording their incriminating conversations using covert devices. They received sentences of 16 years 5 months and 14 years 8 months, respectively.
Eleanor Fry led Richard Holand in a trial lasting 4 weeks, in which the prosecution knitted together evidence of phone data, ANPR material, covert recordings, evidential seizures and scientific findings, allowing the court an insight into the workings of a complex and sophisticated criminal conspiracy.
5 defendants pleaded guilty, just before the trial was due to begin, some shortly before and some after legal argument was heard.
3 defendants were convicted by the Jury, including Leeds resident, Gwyne Hollis, who failed to attend for his trial, was tried in his absence and was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment for his role as the bulk supplier of cocaine to the group. A ninth defendant was acquitted of the charge he faced.