Sheriff unimpressed as he convicts town drug dealer
A former drug-user who denied being concerned in the supply of heroin was found guilty when he went on trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court last Thursday.
Barry Dutton, 24, of Bank Lane, Lerwick, was arrested in Burgh Road on 5th February last year while on his way to the dentist, after conducting what appeared to be a drugs transaction.
He was taken to Lerwick Police Station where police found £180 in his pocket and nine foil wraps all of a similar size in his underwear. Three were selected at random and found to contain respectively 0.12 grammes, 0.13g and 0.14g of brown powder.
Police obtained a warrant to search his house and found a further four foil wraps containing similar amounts of brown powder, a single amount of brown powder weighing 0.46g, and tin foil and electronic scales (which were found in the bedroom) bearing traces of heroin. A bag of white powder which did not contain controlled drugs was also found, along with various class C tablets.
Giving evidence, expert witness detective constable Richard Coyne said that both the nine foil wraps and the four wraps at the house were typical underweight “score” bags with a street value of £20 each. The single amount of 0.46g was not a dealing quantity but could have been divided, especially as tin foil in prepared squares and scales were found. These items were indicative of supplying heroin.
When asked by defence solicitor Keith Bovey how he acquired the packages, Dutton said he had met a visiting fisherman in the street (known only to him as H) who had sold them to him. Dutton said he thought the packages were speed. At the time, he said, speed was not important to him as he was into heroin, injecting up to one and a half grammes per day, as well as taking other drugs. However he would snort speed before going drinking – he was on holiday in the week in question, and this was how he intended to spend the time. The money he had on him, which he had saved while working as a labourer, was to buy a Playstation, he said.
Dutton then denied that the four packages, the tin foil and the white powder at his home were his, but must have been left at his house by other people.
The court heard from Dutton’s mother, who said that Dutton’s house was used “for anyone to come into”. On one occasion she had let herself in with her key when her son was at work and had found a couple from Liverpool sitting in the house while waiting for the boat.
Mrs Dutton agreed that her son’s lifestyle at that time was “chaotic”.
Last September Dutton sought help for his drugs problem. Outreach worker at CADSS (Community Alcohol and Drugs Services Shetland) Linda Gray described Dutton as “highly motivated” and he is currently on a substitute reduction programme.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said that the circumstantial evidence against Dutton was “compelling”, and Sheriff Graeme Napier said that Dutton’s evidence was “not reliable”.
The sheriff told Dutton: “I believe very little of what you told me. You are not an impressive witness.” He said that the fact the items had been found in Dutton’s house, along with the visit of Liverpool people – Liverpool being the main supply route into the isles for heroin – made him have “no doubt” that Dutton was guilty of being in an “enterprise” of supplying heroin.
However he said the offence was not particularly serious and deferred sentence for reports. He placed a drugs testing order on Dutton and ordered forfeiture of the scales, drugs and tinfoil.