HMA v Robert James Lennie & James Daniel Tinney

At the High Court in Edinburgh today (17 January 2020) Lord Arthurson sentenced Robert James Lennie and James Daniel Tinney to 6 years imprisonment after they pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of a class A controlled drug.

On sentencing, Lord Arthurson made the following statement in court:

“Robert James Lennie and James Daniel Tinney, on 20 December 2019 at Glasgow High Court you each tendered a plea of guilty under section 76 procedure to a single charge indictment libelling a contravention of section 4(3)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in respect of each of you being for a one month period over January and February 2019 concerned in the supply of the class A controlled drug cocaine at an address in Rutherglen and elsewhere in Glasgow. The total quantity of the drug recovered by police was 9.567 kg with an agreed street value of between £742,740 and £957,880. A significant proportion of the cocaine recovered was of a high purity. The circumstances of the recovery were plainly indicative of the adulteration and sub-division of the cocaine.

You both have criminal records. Mr Lennie, you have accrued to date 7 previous convictions including convictions for weapons-related offending, namely a knife and a bottle. You have not yet served a custodial sentence. You have no convictions under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Mr Tinney, you have accrued 3 groups of previous convictions and have served one short sentence of imprisonment. You too have no convictions under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

I have listened with care to the submissions advanced by your respective counsel this morning, and I will be taking all of the points which they have helpfully made on your behalf into account in consideration of disposal today. In particular I note your personal backgrounds and family circumstances and responsibilities, your health and employment histories and the remorse which you have expressed today through your counsel and also to the authors of the background reports which have been prepared in respect of each of you for this sentencing hearing. I will also be taking particular account of the timing of your pleas of guilty, which pleas have been offered and accepted at the earliest opportunity available to you in these proceedings.

On any view the offence before the Court today involves a very significant quantity of a class A drug with a particularly high potential monetary street value, a value which at its highest level in the agreed range comes to a figure which falls just short of £1,000,000. It is clear that an extensive degree of planning must have been involved in the index offending in this case. Both of you, by your conscious choice to involve yourselves in the chain of supply of high purity cocaine in the Glasgow area to the quantity and value which I have already referred, have, catastrophically for you and your families, exposed yourselves to the severe punishment which the Court must impose in the public interest for offending of such gravity. Your offending in this case of course has real victims, namely other people and their families, and is offending which by its corrosive nature causes terrible damage to our communities. You will appreciate accordingly that only a very substantial custodial sentence will be appropriate in respect of your criminal conduct in this matter.

Turning now to disposal, in the whole circumstances I do not propose to distinguish between you. You will each therefore serve in respect of this indictment a sentence of imprisonment of 6 years, these sentences being duly backdated to the date of your respective remands in custody on 20 December 2019.

But for the timing of your guilty pleas I can advise you that you would each have received a sentence of 9 years imprisonment.”