HMA v Cameron McFarlane

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 19 June 2018, Lord Pentland sentenced Cameron McFarlane to nine years’ imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to being concerned in the supplying of class A drugs.

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

“I will make the orders proposed in regard to the confiscation order and grant the application for a Serious Crime Prevention Order. 

“Cameron McFarlane, you have pled guilty to an extremely serious charge of being concerned in the supplying of more than half a million pounds worth of high quality heroin. 

“You played an important role in the importation of the drugs to Scotland from the Netherlands. The importation operation entailed planning and active participation on your part. 

“You travelled by air to the Netherlands to procure the shipment. In Amsterdam you hired a car and were involved in the making of the arrangements for the transport of the drugs by lorry to Scotland. You provided guidance and direction to others to allow the drugs to be imported. 

“The consignment of drugs was found in two tool boxes which had been secured to the chassis of a HGV vehicle. You made elaborate arrangements to monitor the movements of this vehicle by placing spyware in it. I note that concealed tracking devices were found on this and on another vehicle. You had previously been employed by the company that operated these vehicles. 

“Your plan was to retrieve your cargo from the vehicles at a convenient time. You admitted to the police that you knew everything about the vehicles due to the trackers you had purchased and placed in the vehicles. 

“You claim that your motive was to repay a debt to a third party whom you have not been prepared to name. 

“You have a particularly bad record of previous analogous offending, having twice been convicted of being concerned in the supplying of class A drugs and sentenced to substantial periods of imprisonment. 

“You also have convictions for offences of dishonesty and fraudulent evasion of customs duties; for all these you served sentences of imprisonment. 

“It is especially concerning that the present offence was committed whilst you were on licence in the community; you grossly breached the trust placed in you under the terms of your release licence. This is a significant aggravating feature. 

“I take account of all that has been said on your behalf this morning. 

“In the circumstances, I conclude that you are a hardened drug dealer with no respect whatsoever for the law. You appear to be a man of some aptitude and ingenuity, abilities you have chosen to misuse. 

“Previous custodial sentences have not deterred you from continuing to involve yourself at an organisational level in the drugs trade. It is a trade that causes misery and devastation to many individuals and communities. 

“In addition to punishing you, the court must send a strong signal to anyone who might be tempted to become involved, at whatever level, in the supplying of controlled drugs: the courts will take a serious view of such offending. 

“Had I been sentencing you after trial I would have imposed a sentence of 13 years' imprisonment. Since you have pled guilty at the earliest possible stage of the proceedings, I accept that your plea has utilitarian value and I will discount your sentence to one of nine years’ imprisonment. 

“The sentence will be backdated to 5 March 2018.”