It was reported to have been the biggest skunk cannabis smuggling ring, with proceeds of some £70 millions. When Police £225,000 left to rot in a safe.
The ringleaders now have been convicted in Southwark Crown Court. One, Peter Moran has been revealed to have had a character reference provided by his second cousin, Labour MP for Mitchem and Morden, Siobhan McDonagh.
The MP told The Daily Telegraph: “I did not know what he was charged with. I was approached by members of my family to explain the tragic circumstances around Peter’s family and that is what I have done.
“Peter’s mum and dad died in shocking circumstances within six months of each other 12 years ago. After that Peter cared for his sister who has suffered from mental health problems. That is all my letter said.”
For those who believe an MP’s endorsement carries weight, approaching one to intercede on behalf of the accused is a common tactic; and it would be especially tempting when the MP is related.
The Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden said that she wrote the reference without asking what he was accused of, and said it had been a “great shock” to her family when the severity of his crimes emerged in court.
Miss McDonagh continued: “I have not seen Peter for three years. I knew him relatively well when he was a small boy and I used to babysit occasionally.
“I can assure you I was completely unaware of the involvement with the gang and believe that he never had a criminal record.
“I have got an extensive Irish family, we are very Catholic, and it is a great shock to the family.”
Where is this, Tammany Hall? Or, the Labour-controlled West Coast of Scotland politics?
Oh course she should have checked. Just as Alex Salmond should have when he did not ask why a “failed asylum seeker” had been in employment, and took such individuals to be axiomatically virtuous and not common criminals involved in cannabis production.