HMA v Stephen Scott

At Glasgow High Court today (26 June 2020) Lord Arthurson sentenced Stephen Scott to 4 years imprisonment after he pled guilty to carrying cocaine in the car he was driving.

On sentencing Lord Arthurson made the following statement in court:

“Stephen Scott, on 29 May 2020 at Edinburgh High Court you tendered a plea of guilty under section 76 procedure to a single charge indictment libelling a contravention of section 4(3)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. On 5 July 2019 you were stopped by police officers while driving northwards on the M9 in an Audi motorcar. On searching the vehicle the officers discovered in the front passenger footwell five blocks of cocaine powder weighing a total of 5.788 kg, with an average purity of 78%. The cocaine was subsequently calculated to have a maximum potential realisable street value of between £500,000 and £600,000.

Your position is that you were a courier who had no idea of the quantity and nature of these drugs. You had been sacked from your employment and were struggling financially in respect of your family responsibilities. You have a short criminal record which is all at District or JP summary level. The background report prepared for this sentencing hearing is in positive terms. In particular, you have been assessed as presenting a low risk of further offending and have had until now a history of regular employment. Your counsel has this morning emphasised these points in the course of his submissions in mitigation, and in addition drawn my attention to matters pertaining to your current family circumstances.

The nature of the index offence, and of course the weight and potential maximum street value of the drugs involved, mean that the only appropriate disposal in your case must be a substantial custodial one. As well as your background, assessed risk and very limited record I take into account that your own part in the drug trafficking operation in question was that of courier only, and that the libel in the charge is restricted to a single day. I also note that you have accepted your guilt at the earliest opportunity available to you in these proceedings.

In the whole circumstances you will therefore serve on this indictment from today a sentence of 4 years imprisonment, which period is discounted from one of 6 years due to the timing of your plea.”