GRIFFITH drug barons Pasquale Barbaro and Saverio Zirilli have launched an audacious bid to have their prison sentences reduced over their roles in a massive 2008 ecstasy importation.
The pair’s legal teams have lodged appeals against the severity of the sentences handed down by the Victorian Supreme Court in January – life with a minimum of 30 years for Barbaro and 26 years with a minimum of 18 for Zirilli – and have been granted a hearing on August 23.
A full bench of three judges in the Victorian Court of Appeal will rule on the fate of the Tharbogang pair, who were convicted of trafficking a commercial quantity of MDMA, conspiring to traffick a commercial quantity of MDMA and attempting to possess a commercial quantity of cocaine.
The charges relate to the seizure of 15 million ecstasy tablets – shipped from Italy to Melbourne ports in 2008 and secreted in tomato tins – and more than 100 kilograms of cocaine.
The pair, along with three other local men, were among 23 arrested nationwide over the $600 million haul, at the time the largest ecstasy seizure in history.
One of the other local co-accused, Pasquale “Poppy” Sergi, will have his pre-sentence hearing today after being found guilty by a jury in May over charges of intending to possess a commercial quantity of ecstasy.
The hearing will be conducted in front of trial judge Justice Betty King at the Victorian Supreme Court.