Absolute discharge for ‘hardworking family man’ whose friend left drugs in his car

A hardworking family man whose friend left drugs in his car has been handed an “absolute discharge” after admitting possession.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard yesterday (Thursday) how William Tulloch, 37, had methadone in his car door when police pulled him over at the Hillhead carpark on 22nd April.

While that constituted possession of a Class A drug, procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie acknowledged it was only “technical” possession for a “brief moment”.

The court heard the owner of the methadone had recently left the car and it had fallen from his bag in the front passenger seat.

When police spotted the car, Mr MacKenzie said officers were interested in Tulloch’s other passenger, who was sitting in the back.

He said officers searched the car and found a small amount of cannabis on the passenger as well as the methadone in the the driver side door pocket.

Defence agent Liam McAllister said his client had never been in court before, was not involved with drugs in anyway and led a “quiet, hardworking existence”.

A former painter and decorator, now working for at a fish farm, Tulloch was said to have described himself as “wholly risk averse”.

Mr McAllister said Tulloch, from Lerwick, was paying the price for showing loyalty to his childhood friends, whose life had taken a different path to his.

He said his client had a “degree of sympathy” for the friends and he was now “suffering” as a result of that.

The defence agent said the impact of conviction would be “grossly disproportionate”.

He told the court Tulloch planned to move with his family to the Philippines and a conviction could harm his visa application.

Mr McAllister said Tulloch was a “very settled family man” and had suffered “significant anxiety” with the matter “hanging over him”.

He suggested to the sheriff the reflection he had gone through as part of the court process had been sufficient punishment,.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank agreed.

He said it was the “most fleeting of technical possessions” and handed Tulloch an absolute discharge.

An absolute discharge is a way of disposing of a criminal case without conviction or sentencing based on the circumstances of the offence and the character of the offender.


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