HMA v JASON FORBES

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 30 January 2015, Lady Wolffe sentenced Jason Forbes to two years and eight months imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of a class A drug.

On sentencing, Lady Wolffe made the following statement in court:

“Jason Paul Forbes, you have pled guilty to a charge of being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug, namely, Diamorphine, contrary to section 4(3)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. 

As a consequence of surveillance over a period in late 2012, you were found to be concerned in a drug supplying operation. This was shown by reason of the communications you had with others in relation to the movement of drugs or money. You were demonstrated to be in a supervising and organising role. You also possessed the knowledge and the means to convert Diamorphine, once adulterated, back into blocks for onward supply. All of this is indicative of a person involved relatively high up the drug supply chain. 

You have a relatively limited record of previous convictions. These consist of five convictions for a variety of road traffic offences over a course of some six years. However, you have no analogous offending. 

I have had regard to the Criminal Justice Social Work Report. It notes that you had good qualifications leaving school and have had sustained periods of legitimate employment. It is observed that your offending in relation to this matter occurred during a period of unemployment, financial difficulty and depression. You have been with your partner for 12 years and have two children under the age of 10 years. You are assessed as not presenting a significant risk of re-offending. It is to your credit that it is noted in the Report that you recognise the detrimental impact of your actions in being involved in the supply of drugs and have resolved to have no further involvement. You are assessed as presenting no imminent or significant risk of re-offending. To date you have not served a period of imprisonment. 

I have had regard to all that has been said quite persuasively on your behalf in mitigation. In particular, that the offending behaviour of this type was out of character and that you were, to an extent, taken advantage of by associates involved in drugs and while you were at a low ebb in your life financially and personally. It is said that the totality of your involvement in criminal conduct was one month only. You thereafter returned to employment. This is not, it was said, the behaviour of a typical drug dealer. You did not gain materially from your involvement in the criminal conduct to which you have pled guilty. 

However, the abuse of drugs is a ruinous blight on the lives of many in modern society. You have been involved in a serious way, and at a relatively high level in the chain of supply. 

I am satisfied that there is no alternative to a custodial sentence. You did not tender a plea at the earliest opportunity, but did do so on 12 December 2014. 

The sentence I impose is one of 32 months. But for the plea, I would have imposed would have been one of sentence of 36 months. This will be backdated to the date on which you were taken into custody on 5 January 2014.”

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