'Notorious' drug lord's appeal refused

NOTORIOUS Gold Coast drug lord Dionne Matthew Lacey has failed to convince the Queensland Court of Appeal that an 18-year jail sentence with parole eligibility after 14.8 years would be crushing despite his age.

Lacey was aged only 19 and 20 when his spate of crimes earned him multiple cumulative jail sentences.

Because two years of his time in custody could not be declared upon sentence, he is effectively serving 20 years jail with parole eligibility after 16.4 years.

A Court of Appeal decision handed down on Friday detailed how he routinely carried a loaded handgun, acted as a stand-over merchant threatening people who owed drugs and money, and harmed them as he saw fit.

Most recently, he received jail sentences in 2012 for trafficking ecstasy, cocaine and marijuana and for a home invasion style robbery where he and others assaulted three people before stealing drugs and money.

A gunshot grazed one of the men's calves.

"The applicant's criminal history has been well publicised and he can fairly be described as notorious," Justice Margaret McMurdo said.

"But there is nothing glamorous or cool about his violent and anti-social past.

"He sustained his evil trade by using a loaded pistol to threaten and intimidate others, by committing armed robberies and by cruelly torturing a young man.

"He was convicted of manslaughter of another young man as a result of his gravely reckless use of a loaded pistol."

But after some consideration Justice McMurdo agreed the sentence was manifestly excessive and crushing, that the primary judge erred in imposing a cumulative sentence on the most recent robbery offences.

She said his rehabilitative efforts in prison suggested real prospects of becoming a useful community member, albeit one who must carry the "dreadful life-long burden of having killed a friend with a loaded gun at a time in his life when he was a despicable and violent drug trafficker and stand-over merchant".

Justice McMurdo said she would have made the robbery offences cumulative, making him eligible for parole in March, 2022, instead of October, 2023.

But justices James Douglas and Margaret Wilson disagreed, arguing there was good reason for imposing cumulative sentences and increasing his non-parole period by about 19 months was just.

"The seriousness of (Lacey's) present offending outweighed his youth and the potential impact of further punishment on his rehabilitation prospects," Justice Wilson said.

His appeal was refused two to one.

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