HMA v Mathew Watt, Mathew Todd and Shuaib Ashraf Dar

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 19 October 2017, Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced Mathew Watt, Mathew Todd and Shuaib Ashraf Dar to imprisonment after the three accused pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

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

“You have all been convicted on your own plea of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. The trafficking in class A drugs is a vile and evil crime bringing misery to individuals who become addicted to these drugs and to the communities in which they live.

In the reports before me it appears that all of you claim to have been directed or influenced or to an extent coerced by others. While I do not doubt that there were others higher up the chain than yourselves the fact is that you willingly participated in the supply of drugs.

Matthew Watt and Mathew Todd, the quantities of drugs involved were substantial, particularly of diamorphine. On my calculation the total street value of diamorphine was not far short of £200,000.

I note that what was recovered from your car, Mr Todd included adulterants, scales and part of a hydraulic press, all recognised as items used by those in the drug trade.

Mathew Watt, you are described as a decent young man who has made some poor choices in life. That is reflected in the report. But your wish to be dealt with in a non-custodial manner shows an unwillingness to appreciate the seriousness of the offences involved.

I take into account that your age and relative lack of offending. However from your plea you appear to have been the most heavily involved.

Had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of four years imprisonment on charge 1 and six years on charge 4. I accept that you attempted to plead by s.76 letter and accordingly I shall discount these sentences to two years eight months and four years respectively.

The sentences will run concurrently and be backdated to 21 September 2016.

Mathew Todd, I have listened carefully to what was said on your behalf. I note the tragic circumstances of the death of your girlfriend.

You appear to have become a heavy cannabis user though I am not sure to what extent that may have contributed to your offending. Like the others you appear to have made some poor life choices.

I take into account that while you have a small number of minor convictions there is nothing analogous.

Had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of three years six months imprisonment on charge 1 and five years on charge 4. I accept that you attempted to plead by s.76 letter and accordingly I shall discount these sentences to two years four months and three years four months respectively.

The sentences will run concurrently and be backdated to 21 September 2016.

Shuaib Ashraf Dar, you appear to have been at the other end of this operation. I am prepared to accept that your involvement was limited to that of a courier of a quantity small in comparison to the overall amount that was recovered in the police operation.

I have read the references from your sister and other supporting documentation and I have listened carefully to what was said on your behalf. I understand that your mother is ill and that not long ago you lost your father.

However, it appears from the probation service report that you have taken some poor choices in life and got yourself into a fair amount of trouble in recent times.

You are described as immature and I note that you are assessed as a medium risk of re-offending within the next 12 months.

It appears to me that you have a choice as to whether you spend the rest of your life in and out of prison or turn away from crime. The choice is yours.

In the meantime I am satisfied that only a custodial sentence will mark society’s disapproval and be an adequate punishment.

However, in view of the limited libel and the comparatively small quantity of cocaine I can make a substantial distinction between you and your co-accused.

Had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of two years imprisonment. In view of the plea I shall discount the sentence to 18 months from today’s date.”