Prisoner who smuggled drugs while on home leave to serve extra 16 months

A prisoner who supplied a class B drug while on home leave from jail will serve an extra 16 months behind bars after admitting the offence at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Police caught Ross Sutherland, 22, with 460 grammes of amphetamine at Sumburgh Airport on 9th February.

Sutherland was on temporary release from low security accommodation at Castle Huntly. He went to Aberdeen to collect the drugs before boarding a flight to Shetland.

He was coming towards the end of a 56-month period of detention after causing death by dangerous driving in November 2007, and was being considered for parole.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Sutherland was detained by police after arriving in Shetland.

He was taken to a side room and asked if he had controlled drugs on him.

“He replied ‘yes’ and handed over a bag of amphetamine,” said Mr MacKenzie.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Sutherland’s sentence had been due to expire in 2013.

He had an earliest date of release of January 2012, and was hoping to be released on parole on 4th April – less than two weeks away.

He had transferred to the low security unit in Castle Huntly, had been working on a golf course in Perth and was entitled to home visits.

Sutherland was approached by someone in Aberdeen, who told him he would have to transport drugs to Shetland in future. He was threatened with violence if he refused.

On the day in question he was met in Aberdeen and given a package.

He was told someone else would collect it from him on his arrival in the isles.

The drugs were not for his own use, as Sutherland would be tested on his return to prison.

He would not receive any payment either.

“This was the only time he had done anything like this on any of his home visits,” Mr Allan said.

“During his time in custody he has done well, and was being considered for parole. But this was not something he would in any way benefit from personally.”

Mr Allan admitted there were not many options for Sheriff Graeme Napier to consider.

“The offence is relatively serious. It’s a real shame for him.”

Sheriff Napier said Sutherland had plenty of opportunity to report the matter before boarding the plane.

He added Sutherland had breached the trust that had been placed in him.

“It’s a significant quantity of amphetamine, but put into the context of other offences I am required to deal with, I consider the appropriate starting off point would have been a custodial sentence of 24 months,” he said.

“I will take into account your early plea and reduce that to 16 months, but it will be consecutive to the offence you are currently serving.”


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