HMA v Samuel Wilson

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 8 June 2018, Lady Rae sentenced Samuel Wilson to 18 months’ imprisonment, having found him guilty of contempt of court for prevaricating while giving evidence in a High Court drugs trial.

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

“Samuel Wilson, you were a significant witness in a High Court trial concerning the international transfer of class A drugs worth in excess of £7.5 million.

“It was clear from the start of your evidence that you were a reluctant witness and unwilling to assist in this case. That attitude was apparent from your initial contact with police officers when you refused to assist them in their investigations.

“In the course of your testimony you repeatedly changed your evidence, despite a warning from me. I had no doubt that you were prevaricating and for that reason I found you guilty of contempt of court. 

“It is vitally important to the administration of justice that witnesses called to give evidence answer questions honestly and without prevarication. 

“I have now been provided with a psychiatric report which states that you have a moderate depressive illness with associated anxiety and that your ‘performance’ as the doctor calls it ‘would have been significantly affected by your mental disorder’. I note that you told the doctor that you told the truth and that any inconsistencies in your evidence were not deliberate.

“The doctor did not have the advantage of seeing give your evidence nor was he aware of the background of your involvement in this case. 

“Let me clear it was not your performance which led me to the view which I took, it was your prevarication.

“I have no doubt that you were nervous when giving evidence but that does not excuse your behaviour.

“You say you were confused but the questions asked were, in my view, clear. Indeed it was you who created some of your asserted confusion by volunteering information which you later contradicted.

“In view of the very serious nature of the case in which you were a witness and the fact that this was a High court trial, I am of the view that I have little option but to impose a custodial sentence. 

“I shall have regard to all of the mitigation put before me including your age, health and personal circumstances in limiting the sentence. You will be sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.”

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