NINE men at the centre of a large scale Nissan theft scam have had their jail terms slashed after a courtroom blunder.
In January the conspirators were given prison sentences of up to five years, on the basis the satellite navigation systems they had been stealing were worth over £2,500 each.
Newcastle Crown Court heard defence teams, who had objected to the high value put on the stolen items, later found out the true cost per system is just over £250 - 10 times less than stated in court.
Judge Jeremy Freedman, who was told of the error during a hearing last Friday, said he was “troubled” by the new information and said the jail terms must be reviewed.
He told the court: “I am extremely unhappy about having sentenced the defendants under what now turns out to be a false basis.
“It gave me no pleasure to pass the substantial prison sentences I felt I had to impose, particularly because of the breach of trust aspect, but also because of the very high value of the goods.
“It was still a very serious conspiracy but the value is clearly a factor in determining the length of sentence.”
At yesterday’s hearing, after reviewing each case, the judge ordered each man’s jail term to be cut by one third.
Stephen Ganley, 31, of Padgate Road, Pennywell, was jailed for five years.
His sentence will now be slashed to around three years and four months.
His father Anthony Ganley, 49, of the same address, was jailed for three years, which will now be cut to two years.
The pair, who both admitted conspiracy to steal and handle stolen goods, had been selling the stolen systems through the family shop and over eBay.
Van driver Kris Beckwith, 36, of Newbury Street, Monkwearmouth, whose work allowed him inside the Nissan compound, was jailed for three years and four months.
His sentence will now down to around two years and five weeks. He had admitted conspiracy to steal on the basis he was the “go-between” for the Ganleys and those getting the stolen goods out of the factory.
Driver David Evans, 32, of Cartwright Road, Castletown, who was involved in the theft of a pallet of 96 sat navs through his work in the compound for a delivery firm, was jailed for 18 months, which will now be reduced to a year.
The former soldier, who served in Afghanistan, had denied involvement but was found guilty after a trial.
Gavin Wright, 28, of Monkton Avenue, South Shields, an agency driver for Nissan, admitted stealing sim cards from newly manufactured vehicles to supply to the Ganleys so the stolen sat navs would work. He was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work after admitting theft. The suspended prison term will now be slashed to 10 months.
Ganley family friend Neil Crossan, 47, Stathmore Road, Springwell, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work. He had admitted conspiracy to handle stolen goods in relation to selling six sat navs and 36 USB cables which were stolen from the plant. His suspended jail term will also be cut to 10 months.
Paul Burrell, 42, of Front Road, Ford Estate, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work. He had admitted conspiracy to handle stolen goods in relation to eBay sales. His suspended jail term will now be 16 months.
David Whitfield, 38, Silksworth Row, Sunderland, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work.
He had admitted conspiracy to steal after being involved in transporting the stolen pallet of 96 sat navs. His jail term, which was suspended, will be cut to eight months.
Lee Myers, 34, Coronation Avenue, Blackhall, Durham, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work. He had admitted handling stolen goods after being caught selling stolen sat navs over eBay. His suspended jail term will now be slashed to 16 months.