8th April 2020
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Woman imprisoned for her part in drug supply

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A woman is beginning a 15 month prison sentence after she admitted supplying heroin.

Yvonne Caroline Duncan, 47, allowed packages containing the drug to be delivered to her address in Lerwick’s South Road on 8th January last year.

But police were acting on intelligence and carried out a search warrant at her house, where they found her with the drugs.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard the accused was found opening a package within her bedroom. It contained 6.81 grammes of the drug.

Officers also found a separate stash weighing 83.76 grammes in an ottoman.

The total value of the drugs had the potential to realise up to £7,000.

However, the court heard that Duncan was appearing in the dock, not because of what she had done, but because she “did nothing”.

Defending, Donald Findlay QC said his client, who was “Shetland born and bred,” and had considerable connections to the local community.

He stressed that Duncan’s only involvement in the case was taking receipt of the drugs.

“This is a somewhat unusual case. The reality is that Yvonne Duncan is here not because of something she did, but because she did nothing.

“It’s never easy, and one is never comfortable, with directing a finger of blame elsewhere, but that is necessary in this case.”

He added that blame should instead be directed at Duncan’s former partner who, he said, had become involved in drugs.

“Towards 2015 she began to have concerns as to the behaviour of her partner. These suspicions were proved to be more than mere suspicions.”

Mr Findlay highlighted a “tragic event” in which her partner and his closest friend were involved in a boating incident, in which the vessel sank.

Her partner survived the incident, but his companion died as a result of the tragedy.

A subsequent report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch found the men onboard the stricken vessel were intoxicated by illegal and controlled drugs.

Mr Findlay said Duncan’s partner was subsequently imprisoned for his part in that incident, adding he then went on a “downward spiral”.

The QC said there were subsequent incidents of domestic abuse against Duncan. Her partner was later stabbed in a “drug-related” incident.

On one occasion Duncan overheard of a plan being discussed by her partner to use her address as a location for drugs to be delivered – a plan that she went along with.

“She recognises this was a failure on her part because she did nothing,” said Mr Findlay, adding she had done so out of fear of reprisals.

Following a break to consider his sentence, Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said supply of Class A drugs had to be considered a “serious matter”.

But he warned the only appropriate option available was to pass a custodial sentence.