Cherie Blair, known professionally as Cherie Booth QC, was sitting as a Crown Court judgeat Isleworth Crown Court in South-West London in March this year, where Lee Williams, 43, faced trial.
Williams had received a package posted from the US last September and said to contain a ‘gift’. Customs officers allowed it to be delivered to Williams’s flat in Hanwell, West London, where he was then arrested.
The jury took less than three hours to Williams guilty of conspiracy to supply a class A drug. Legal experts said they would have expected Williams to be sentenced to a stretch behind bars of five to nine years, but Cherie Blair gave the drug dealer a suspended sentence even though he had a kilogram of cocaine worth £145,600.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve ordered a review of the disproportionately soft sentence, which has come as a great embarrassment to Mrs Blair.
The Appeal Court was asked to review the sentence by lawyers representing Attorney General Dominic Grieve. Appeal judge Lord Justice Pitchford described the sentence as “remarkable”.
“There is a deficiency, in the respect of the recorder, in her reasoning,” ruled Lord Justice Pitchford.
Three Appeal Court judges expressed astonishment at what was described as a ‘startling’, ‘deficient’ and ‘unduly lenient’ sentence. They replaced it with a 3½ year jail term.
Dr David Green, Director of the Civitas think tank, said: “Mrs Blair doesn’t appear to be well-suited to being a judge if that’s her idea of a proportionate sentence.”
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