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Appeal lost over importation sentence

A seaman jailed for smuggling drugs and guns to Bermuda has lost an appeal to reduce his sentence.

Romonito Adlawan was sentenced to spend 8½ years behind bars after he admitted money laundering, importing a firearm and importing cannabis in 2015.

However, the Filipino argued he should have received a lower sentence on account of his efforts to assist police and prosecutors.

The Court of Appeal however found Adlawan had already received a high discount given his admission that he had smuggled contraband to Bermuda before.

Appeal Judge Geoffrey Bell wrote in a judgment: “In the circumstances, it seems to me that Adlawan was perhaps fortunate at sentencing, and the sentences imposed by the sentencing judge should not be varied by this court, even taking into account the evidence he gave at trial.”

The Court heard Adlawan had been a seaman on the MV Somers Isles cargo ship when he was recruited to bring drugs to Bermuda in February 2015.

He told investigators he made his first pick-up that month, and others in March and April that year.

Adlawan was arrested in Bermuda on May 5, 2015 with $228,500 of cannabis and a 40 calibre Smith & Wesson pistol with 11 rounds of ammunition.

The Court heard Adlawan was paid between $3,500 and $7,000 for the earlier deliveries, and expected to receive $8,000 for the final delivery.

Adlawan pleaded guilty that June and later gave evidence in court against Kimisha Perinchief and Jermaine Butterfield, who had been arrested for the same importation plot.

He was sentenced to serve 5½ years for the firearm offence and three years for the drugs offence, with the sentences to run consecutively.

Marc Daniels, representing Adlawan, argued his client should have received a 50 per cent discount for “additional assistance” given to investigators.

The Crown agreed to support “some further reduction” of the sentence on the basis that those who help police and give evidence in relation to the offence they have been charged with are entitled to a discount of between 30 and 50 per cent.

However, Mr Justice Bell wrote that Adlawan had been fortunate with his sentence.

He said: “The reality is that Adlawan received a discount of just over 43 per cent at his sentencing, so moving close to the top of the range.

“And there are two features of Adlawan’s conduct which do not seem to me to merit the fullest possible discount.

“First, he had set out on a course of regular drug importations.

“Secondly, he had told the police that while he knew the packages he was importing contained drugs, he did not know the type of drug.

“That could be said to count as much against him as for him.”

The court found no further discount was warranted and dismissed the appeal.

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