Drag racer challenges jail term for drug trafficking

Rex Martinich |

A former Queensland drag racing champion jailed over his role in a drug trafficking ring has failed in a bid to reopen his sentence.

Brett Raymond Stevens, then aged 50, was sentenced to at least 10 years imprisonment in November 2015 after being found guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court of producing and trafficking MDMA, the active ingredient of ecstasy.

Stevens again appeared in the Supreme Court on Thursday via videolink from Townsville Correctional Centre and represented himself in arguing his sentence was too harsh because it was based on trafficking schedule one drugs.

Prosecutors had charged Stevens with trafficking over a period when MDMA was reclassified upwards in criminal seriousness from schedule two to schedule one.

During the 2015 trial, prosecutors alleged Stevens was part of a group that could produce thousands of ecstasy tablets per hour and he kept $9 for every pill, raising $1.2 million from no apparent legitimate source.

Stevens’ associates testified that they dropped off drugs and cash to his home at Burpengary, north of Brisbane, over a six-month period.

In court on Thursday, Stevens also claimed the judge had made errors in findings of facts from the jury’s verdicts, which were then applied to his sentencing.

“It was alleged that I was the puppet master of an organised crime gang but there was nothing proven,” Stevens told the court on Thursday.

The Crown’s barrister responded that prosecutors at the time stressed that Stevens should be sentenced on the basis of charges with a 20-year maximum sentence and not 25 years, as Stevens was claiming.

Justice Soraya Ryan told Stevens that reopening a sentence was an “exceptional” action for the court to take and he needed to show the judge “imposed a sentence decided on a clear factual error of substance”.

“Having reviewed the material, there’s no part of the evidence that supports it. I will deny an adjournment for you to look for more evidence because in my observation, everything points against it,” Justice Ryan said.

“Your complaint is about the findings. You did not agree with them. The forum for that is the Court of Appeal.”

Justice Ryan dismissed the application to reopen the sentence, noting there were some errors in the records of the verdict but they did not have a practical impact on Stevens’ jail term.