HMA v David Mitchell

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lady Wolffe sentenced David Mitchell to two years and eight months imprisonment after he pled guilty to supplying class A and class B drugs.

On sentencing Lady Wolffe made the following statement in court:

“David Mitchell, you have plead guilty to three charges of being concerned in the supply of drugs, contrary to section 4(3)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The drugs concerned were two Class A drugs, namely of Cocaine and Diamorphine, and the class B drug of cannabis.

As a consequence of intelligence you were found to be in possession of these drugs. In the form in which they were found they had a value of some £36,000 and an overall maximum realisable value of around £60,000.


You have a relatively limited record with two previous convictions for minor non-analogous matters. 


I have had regard to the Criminal Justice Social Work Report. It is in positive terms. It notes that you have a very good work ethic and have largely been in employment for extended periods of time, since leaving school and successfully completing an apprenticeship. While you are now separated from your long-term partner, she remains supportive of you and you continue to have contact with the four children you have together. You also enjoy the support of your parents.  In relation to the offending, it is suggested that this occurred at a point in your life when you were particularly vulnerable by reason of an addiction to heroin. You are noted by the author of the report readily to have accepted responsibility for the charges to which you now plead guilty.  You are assessed as not presenting a significant risk of re-offending: indeed, you are assessed as presenting  only a low risk of committing an analogous offence. 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 distance yourself from persons involved in this illicit and socially detrimental trade.  

To date you have not served a period of imprisonment.

I have also had regard to all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation. In particular, I have noted your personal circumstances, the absence of prior record, the relatively unsophisticated and limited character of the offence both in timeframe and value, and to the fact that this occurred when you yourself were vulnerable by reason of addiction. It is also said that you have resolved to change your ways and that you  engaged voluntarily with certain services last summer to begin to do so. I was urged to exercise leniency.  

I have had regard to all of these features. 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 the amounts found in your possession, for the purpose of feeding the drug trade, are not insignificant in either amount or value. It was accepted on your behalf that your offending must be marked by a custodial sentence.


I am satisfied that there is no alternative to a custodial sentence. You are still a young man. You enjoy the full support of your family and have many pro-social factors and a good work ethic. You tendered a plea at an early stage and I shall take that into account with an appropriate discount.  In the light of all of the mitigating features presented I am prepared to exercise a degree of leniency in the length of sentence I impose.

The sentence I impose is one of 2 years and 8 months, being a total of 32 months. But for the plea, the sentence I would have imposed would have been a custodial sentence of 4 years.


This sentence will be backdated to the date on which you were taken into custody on 17 March 2015.  I sincerely hope that the leniency I have exercised will be reciprocated by your overcoming those circumstances that led to your committing this offence, and that you will return as a productive member of society – which you have largely been. You are fortunate in the support of your family”.



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