Felicity Fraser sentenced to nine-and-a-half years behind bars over drug importation conspiracy

A NSW Hunter Valley horse racing identity has been sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in jail, with five-and-a-half years non-parole, over a cocaine importation conspiracy.

Last year, Scone woman Felicity Fraser pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug over four years between 2017 and 2021.

It relates to several shipments from South America that either contained drugs or were imported under the impression they contained drugs.

Judge Peter McGrath told a Newcastle court that determining a sentence for Fraser was a “complex exercise”.

While Fraser was involved, he said her co-accused was the conspiracy’s leader.

“Ms Fraser’s role was not at the top level. This was not a conspiracy of equals,” Judge McGrath said.

However, he noted that Fraser knowingly engaged with employment after she became aware that drugs were involved in a secretarial-style job she had undertaken.

Judge McGrath said her role was important to the conspiracy, and she “willingly” joined a co-accused in his plans.

Naivety and vulnerabilities

Judge McGrath told the court he believed Fraser did not have a clear view of the impact cocaine could have on people’s lives.

He said that was likely due to Fraser’s upbringing.

“[Fraser had a] sheltered upbringing and life in the Upper Hunter … I do not discount that she held such a naive belief of the drug,” Judge McGrath said.

The case was last in court in June, where sentencing submissions were heard.

Fraser’s defence barrister Lang Goodsell argued to the court her client only had a small role in the importation and that she was vulnerable at the time due to a marriage breakdown and health issues.

She alleged a co-accused had taken advantage of her client’s vulnerable state.

Judge McGrath referenced this, telling the court a co-accused in the case had “engineered a situation” where she could not leave.

He also told the court it seemed the co-accused became a trusted friend to Fraser during a vulnerable time of her life.

Before her sentence was read out to the court, Fraser cried quietly, wiping away tears.

Her parents were also in the courtroom.

Her mother also wiped away tears as her daughter’s sentence was read.

Judge McGrath noted Fraser’s well-known status in her community in his sentencing remarks.

“I must impose a sentence on Ms Fraser that will deter others,” he said.

Fraser’s sentence will be backdated to February 15, 2022, meaning her sentence will be completed in August 2031.

Fraser will be eligible for parole in August 2027.


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-11/upper-hunter-horse-identity-sentence-cocaine-import/102719424 Felicity Fraser sentenced to nine-and-a-half years behind bars over drug importation conspiracy

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