HMA v Michael J Holland

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Woolman sentenced Michael Holland to 4 years in prison after the accused was found guilty of 4 drug related offences including the supply of cocaine.

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

“On 28 September 2015, the police were carrying out a surveillance operation. One of their targets was a man called Steven Wright. They followed his van to Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh. You had already parked your car there.

Mr Wright took a black bag out of his van and placed it into the rear of your car. You never touched the bag. After a conversation lasting a few minutes, you drove off. Police officers intercepted you at the driveway of your home. They found just under 2 kilograms of cocaine and benzo-cocaine in the bag. It was split into 8 ‘quarter’ deals, each in its own brown packet.

You told the officers that they would find drugs on your person and in the house. They did so. There was a wrap of white powder in your wallet. It contained cocaine and benzo-cocaine. There were also small quantities of amphetamine, cannabis & cannabis resin within the house.

On your account, you met Mr Wright at a social event some months previously. You said you would think about delivering packages for him. In May or June 2015, you met him again at a darts tournament. No business talk took place, however, on that occasion.

A week before the meeting at the harbour, you bought a new mobile telephone. Somehow (it is not clear how) Mr Wright found out the number for that handset. He contacted you in the early afternoon of 28 September and asked you to meet him at the harbour carpark. You understood that you were either to deliver a parcel or that someone would contact you and arrange to uplift it. You maintain that you did not know that there were drugs in the black bag.

The jury did not accept your account. Following a trial in Livingston High Court in February, it convicted you of four offences. One related to the supply of cocaine. The others related to the possession of Class B drugs. I delayed passing sentence until today to allow you to have knee replacement surgery.

I have considered the terms of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report, the three character references, and all that has been said on your behalf. I have taken into account your age, health, and record.

I begin by admonishing you on the possession charges. The amounts are small and would not bring this case into the High Court.

The offence involving the supply of cocaine is in a different category. You participated in a serious crime. The trade in Class A drugs is harmful to individuals and harmful to society. They cause misery and ruin lives.

While you played a lesser role it was still an important one. You facilitated the supply of the drugs which, even though of low purity, had a potential street value of over £80,000.

In all the circumstances and exercising what leniency I can, I sentence you to a period of 4 years in prison from today’s date on charge (1).”