25th September 2016
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Heroin dealer jailed after admitting supply charges

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A heroin dealer has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison after he admitted a charge of supply.

But Robert Finnie’s new prison term will not kick in until his current sentence has run its course.

The 24-year-old, from Dingwall in Ross-shire, committed the offence after a friend who had been involved in the heroin trade took his own life.

Finnie was subsequently told by his friend’s mother that he owed money, and agreed to carry out the supply in order to pay off the debt.

The court heard Finnie, who had left school with no qualifications after being bullied, had used substances from a young age.

After becoming involved in the drugs trade he had made attempts to go straight. But he subsequently received threats to his life.

Finnie admitted breaking the terms of the Misuse of Drugs Act when he appeared before sheriff Philip Mann at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

The offence happened in October and December last year at an address in Virkie, as well as at the NorthLink ferry premises in Aberdeen and at the post office in Dingwall.

Making things worse for Finnie was an analogous conviction from 2011. Defence agent Chris Dowle said Finnie understood that would mean a custodial sentence was “unavoidable”.

Sheriff Mann told Finnie he had had the “potential” to wreck lives.

“You’re no stranger to this type of offending. You’ve got a previous conviction from 2011, in respect of which you received a two-year custodial sentence.

“It’s often said in this court that those who decide to deal in drugs will be treated severely.

“I’ve no doubt you felt pressure to become involved … but that’s just something that goes with the territory.

“The amounts involved are substantial and had the potential to wreck many lives in this island community.”

Earlier, Mr Dowle had told the court: “A close friend of Mr Finnie’s had been involved in heroin supply and committed suicide. The friend’s mother advised that money was owed. He agreed to follow up in his friend’s footsteps to pay off the debt.”

Mr Dowle said threats were made to Finnie’s life “when he tried to extricate himself from this lifestyle”.

The agent said Finnie had left school without any qualifications after being subject to bullying, and had turned to using substances from a young age.

“He has known a custodial sentence is unavoidable, but he has never been subject to a community-based disposal.”

The court heard that Finnie had been sentenced to six months in prison on 18th May after appearing at Tain Sheriff Court. His earliest release date was 17th August.

As well as sentencing him for this offence, Sheriff Mann imposed a one year supervised release order – the maximum he could impose.

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