A drug trafficker who posted cocaine and cannabis worth £31,000 to the island has had his jail term cut.

Paul Joseph Rowan, 34, was jailed for a total of 10 years and eight months in February this year after pleading guilty to two counts of importing cocaine and one of importing cannabis to the island.

But, after lodging, Judge of Appeal Anthony Cross and Acting Deemster Alan Gough have cut his sentence to eight years.

The Court of General Gaol Delivery previously heard a package containing cocaine with a street value of £5,460 and cannabis worth £19,698 was intercepted at the Post Office sorting office on March 13, 2020.

A man who went to the Post Office to collect the parcel was arrested and subsequently jailed. Their mobile phone was seized and went on to receive a number of calls from two different UK numbers.

Rowan was subsequently incriminated when he used one of the same mobile numbers to contact Merseyside police to report that his car had been firebombed.

On July 14 the same year another parcel was intercepted at the sorting office which contained a further £6,350 worth of cocaine concealed inside a gift-wrapped book.

Rowan, of Darwall Road, Garston, Liverpool, was arrested on a warrant in November last year and brought back to the island to face charges.

A basis of plea was accepted that he had owed £4,000 to Liverpool drug dealers and had been pressured with threats of violence into posting the drugs to the island.

Rowan’s defence advocate Jim Travers said his client had been the ‘muggins with all the risk on his shoulders’.

Deemster Graeme Cook accepted he had become a ‘productive family man’ and had been pressured through drug debts into posting the parcels.

He jailed Rowan for five years and six months for the first production of cocaine offence and five years and two months for the second, making a total of 10 years and eight months.

But the appeal judges deemed the sentence too harsh.

Deemster Cook had cited a number of aggravating features which included Rowan’s previous criminal record. However, the judgement says too much weight was given to this.

The judgement says: ‘In our view the Deemster was right to consider that that conviction aggravated the offending, however we note that the offence was in 2015, the offending here was of a little age, there was no repetition of it and there was  considerable mitigation.

‘In our view the aggravating factor of the previous conviction was more than counter-balanced by the references we received which indicated that the appellant was in employment, had remained in employment and had an excellent work record.’

The judges also questioned the finding Rowan was involved in ‘group activity’ and that sending the drugs in a hollowed out book was ‘sophisticated’.

They said any financial gain was tempered by the fact he was at ‘extremely low down in the chain of command’ and he was paying off a debt.

The judgment concludes: ‘The real thrust of the submissions made by Mr Travers relate to the “feel” of the sentence.

‘We believe Mr Travers means that while there is no criticism of the starting point, the learned Deemster did not do what all sentencing judges should do and that is to consider whether at the end of the day the sentence was too long.

‘Sentencers should look at the arithmetic, stand back, apply another coat of thought to the sentence and then decide whether the total sentence reflects the criminality.

‘In our view the sentence was manifestly excessive and we reduce the overall sentence by two and a half years to a total sentence of eight years’ custody.’