Man who helped provide North East venues with illegal access to Premier League football says jail term was unfair

Jason Graham
Jason Graham

A man who helped provide hundreds of North East venues with illegal access to Premier League football has claimed his punishment was 'unfair'.

Jason Richard Graham, 46, of Front Street, East Boldon, said it was wrong that he got the same jail term as the instigator of the £1.5million plot.

Graham, also known as Jason Richards, was locked up for 54 months at Newcastle Crown Court on April 4.

He admitted conspiracy to defraud and doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice.

It was a 'sophisticated and well-organised fraud' committed against numerous broadcasters worldwide, London's Appeal Court heard.

The plot was initiated by John Dodds, 65, in 2009, with Graham joining him in the conspiracy from 2012, said Lord Justice Davis.

They supplied the means to watch pay-TV, including Premier League football, to 270 pubs and clubs.

But they did so without the permission of, or payment to, broadcasters and content providers.

Estimated gross receipts generated by the fraud were well in excess of £1.5million and broadcasters suffered 'significant losses'.

When the authorities went to Graham's address, he 'falsely stated' on the phone that he was not there but would be returning.

In fact, he was in the house for around an hour, trying to destroy the hard drive on his computer and other 'incriminating material'.

Dodds, of Stainton Road, Seamer, also got 54 months behind bars after admitting conspiracy to defraud.

He was the 'commander-in-chief' of the plot, while Graham aspired to be 'regarded as an equal partner' and received 'one-third of the gross receipts'.

Graham had 'numerous' previous convictions for crimes including burglary, theft, violence and vehicle-related offences.

But his lawyers today argued that he had a 'proper sense of grievance' about getting the same jail term as Dodds.

He did not set up the fraud, he became involved through Dodds on a later date and he played a 'subordinate role' to him, they said.

"We are not persuaded that there is an arguable ground of appeal here," said Lord Justice Davis, who was sitting with two other appeal judges.

While Dodds was of previous good character, Graham was not, although his last previous conviction dated back to 1996.

And the 'very serious' perverting the course of justice count also 'had to be taken into account', the judge added.

"There is no way in which the sentence of 54 months imprisonment can be described as manifestly excessive.

"Accordingly we refuse this application," concluded Lord Justice Davis.