Sheriff had ‘no doubt’ of cannabis man’s guilt

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A PORT Bannatyne man who was found with five separate bags of herbal cannabis inside his jacket as he arrived off the ferry at Rothesay pier was found guilty of possession with intent to supply this week.

Scott Williamson (39), address given as 16 High Road, had denied the offence, claiming that the drug, with a potential street value of more than £300, was for his own personal use.

But Sheriff John Herald said he had “absolutely no doubt whatsoever” of Williamson’s guilt.

The court heard evidence from three Rothesay-based police officers that Williamson had been stopped, searched and later arrested after arriving off the ferry from Wemyss Bay on the evening of October 27, after information was received that a man was acting suspiciously on board the vessel.

Williamson was found to have a double-wrapped plastic bag inside his jacket, and inside the inner bag were five brown paper bags containing a substance the officers believed to be herbal cannabis.

The five bags were later found to weigh 17.7g, 16.6g, 17.9g, 17.7g and 8.2g.

DC Kenneth Foy, a specialist drugs officer working with Strathclyde Police’s ‘statement of opinion’ (STOP) unit, told the court four of the five bags could have been sold as overweight half-ounce deals, each with an approximate street value of around £70, and the fifth as a quarter-ounce deal worth £40.

“In my experience,” DC Foy stated, “these have been sub-divided into common deals which could indicate onward sale or supply.

“I’ve never known anyone to buy that amount for personal use. Even if they did, they wouldn’t sub-divide it.”

Cross-examined by Williamson’s solicitor, Jim Hannay, DC Foy said that while it might appear to someone who hadn’t looked inside the bag that it contained only one item, “most people who buy drugs check what they’ve purchased”.

Williamson told the court he had travelled to Glasgow Central station earlier that day to collect the drug, having agreed to pay £100 for two ounces.

He told fiscal depute Lindy Scaife he had never previously bought such a large amount of the drug, and hoped it would last him until Christmas or New Year.

“Do you expect the court to believe you would spend £100 on drugs and not check inside the bag?” Ms Scaife asked.

“It was a busy station,” Williamson replied. “I gave it a squeeze on the outside and thought it was worth it.”

Deferring sentence until March 28 for background reports, Sheriff Herald told him: “My attitude to offences of this nature is well documented.

“This community has an advantage over other communities with which I deal on a daily basis, and that is that it has the ferry as a first line of defence against the importation of drugs.

“A custodial sentence is going to be at the forefront of my mind.”