HMA v IAIN JAMES HUGHES

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Pentland sentenced Ian James Hughes to 6 years in prison after being convicted of supplying controlled drugs.

On sentencing Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

“Iain James Hughes, you were convicted after trial of five charges of being concerned in the supplying of a variety of controlled drugs, namely Cocaine, Methoxyamphetamine, Amphetamine, Cannabis and Cannabis Resin.  On the basis of the evidence at the trial it seems that you became involved in the onward supplying of valuable quantities of these drugs to other persons.  The potential street value of the drugs recovered was, according to the expert evidence, in the region of at least £250,000.  The Cocaine was of a high level of purity.  In addition to the drugs, police officers recovered in your flat a number of articles frequently used in the drugs trade.  These included two sets of scales, rubber gloves, a variety of adulterants, including the mixing agent benzocaine, packaging tape, a plastic jug containing rolls of polythene bags and face masks. 

I acknowledge that you were convicted on the basis that you committed these offences on a single day.  I take account also of the fact that the Crown, in presenting its case to the jury, accepted that you were not at the top end of the drugs hierarchy, that you would appear to have agreed to store the drugs for others and that the background was that you had fallen heavily into debt. 

You have a limited record of previous offending, although it must be noted that you do have a previous conviction for possessing Cannabis Resin with intent to supply others.  For this offence in 2006 you were fined the sum of £300.  So it was obviously on a much lower level of gravity than the present offences.

I have taken fully into account all that has been said in mitigation on your behalf and of the contents of the criminal justice social work report.  You are a mature man of 37 years.

The courts have repeatedly made clear that anyone who chooses to become involved in the supplying of valuable amounts of controlled drugs, for whatever reason and in whatever capacity, must expect to receive a substantial custodial sentence when brought to justice.  The court must take full account of the widespread harm that controlled drugs cause to so many people. 

Having regard to the high purity of the Cocaine and to the potential value of the various drugs recovered in the present case, it is clear that the court must take a serious view of your level of culpability.  In the circumstances, you will go to prison for six years.  That is a cumulo sentence imposed in respect of all the offences on the indictment.  It takes into account the short period you spent on remand after first appearing in court.

Your sentence will be backdated to 6 December 2013”.