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Algorithm used to assess weight of drugs sold in county line cases

Stacey-lee Holland successfully opposed the defence application for leave to appeal in a case where the police had used an algorithm to determine the weight of drugs sold over the period of the indictment, despite no drugs having ever been recovered.

The algorithm, using various calculations, identifies a total daily figure of customers purchasing drugs from the drugs line phone within the date parameters. That is then multiplied by the average daily consumption of the various drugs, as established in the Black Dame report, producing an overall weight of drugs sold within the relevant period.

In determining whether the weight produced by the algorithm could be used when considering the relevant sentence to be passed, the Court of Appeal stated that “In our view it was reasonable for the Recorder [Court] to consider the results of a cautiously operated algorithm as a fair way of approaching the Guideline”.

The defendant was sentenced to 6 years in custody.

You can read the judgment here:

Stacey-Lee Holland is a barrister in chambers, specialising in criminal law. To instruct Stacey-Lee, you can contact her clerks at or on 020 7936 2613.

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