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Cohens back behind bars

Published: 12:17PM Friday November 16, 2001

Two of New Zealand's most notorious drug dealers are back in jail.

Lorraine and Aaron Cohen were sentenced at the High Court in Auckland on a raft of charges involving morphine, speed and cannabis.

The return to prison of the mother and son comes five years after they were freed in Malaysia.

The mother and son have lived a harsh and tragic life ruled by their drug addictions.

"It has blighted your life, it almost sent you to the gallows in Malaysia and it's sapped your energy and your spirit," Justice Priestley said in sentencing.

They were arrested in Malaysia in 1987 for dealing heroin, where Lorraine narrowly escaped death for her crime. The pair were pardoned and returned to New Zealand, but started dealing drugs again.

On Friday the pair were each sentenced to four years in prison, Aaron on eight charges and his mother on three.

"Unfortunately for the prisoner not a situation where she's in a position to claim one last chance," the judge said of Lorraine.

Defence lawyer Peter Kaye pleaded: "She is now somewhat frail... in health, she suffers from the cancer... the prognosis for the future is described as being high risk."

The Crown's case was that the small scale operation was aimed at making money, particularly for Lorraine Cohen.