Drug dealer ‘for­got’ he had 78 bags worth of heroin

The Oban Times - - Front Page - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

A DRUG dealer tried ev­ery trick in the book to get out of a prison sen­tence when he ap­peared at Oban Sher­iff Court this week.

First, Brian Con­nolly, 35, said he had ‘for­got­ten’ he had hid­den the equiv­a­lent of 78 bags of heroin in his body.

Con­nolly then claimed Oban Sher­iff Court had spelled his name in­cor­rectly in a bid to hide his mul­ti­ple of­fences and prison sen­tences.

The father- of- one said he didn’t know he was banned from driv­ing, and that he hadn’t re­mem­bered he’d taken ‘a few wee puffs’ of cannabis be­fore be­ing stopped by po­lice on March 20 af­ter crash­ing into two parked cars, caus­ing ‘ex­ten­sive dam­age’, at Colon­say Ter­race, Oban.

Un­em­ployed Cly­de­bank man Con­nolly claimed he was car­ry­ing the 11.3 grams of heroin for his own per­sonal use on a ‘night out drink­ing cola’ in Oban and the amount would only make up six bags rather than the 78 ‘ten­ner’ bags claimed by a po­lice ex­pert.

But Sher­iff Ruth An­der­son QC was con­vinced ‘be­yond any rea­son­able doubt’ that the mul­ti­ple of­fender was seek­ing to sell the drugs.

The court also heard that Con­nolly re­ceived al­most £1,800 a month in ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing £ 347 per fort­night for un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fit and a fur­ther £1,000 per month as a pay­ment for ‘dis­abled­ness (sic), my am­pu­tated fin­ger and my men­tal health’. He had trav­elled to Oban in his mo­bil­ity ve­hi­cle.

Con­nolly’s de­fence agent Kevin McGui­ness said he ‘could pay a large fine’ rather than go to jail.

Af­ter a trial last­ing less than two hours, Sher­iff An­der­son jailed Con­nolly for 10 months and, on charges he had ear­lier pleaded guilty to, banned him from driv­ing for two years. Con­nolly was ad­mon­ished on a fur­ther charge of pos­sess­ing di­azepam while on bail.

Con­nolly, who used crutches and a wheel­chair in court, claimed he had ‘to­tally for­got­ten’ he had a bag of heroin in his body un­til it was re­moved by a po­lice sur­geon at Lorn and Is­lands Hospi­tal.

His record does him no credit” Sher­iff Ruth An­der­son QC

Un­der cross- ex­am­i­na­tion, Con­nolly was asked by procu­ra­tor fis­cal Eoin McGinty why he had brought the drugs to Oban. He said again: ‘I to­tally for­got that I had them there.’

Mr McGinty asked: ‘You to­tally for­got you had a car­rier bag in your rec­tum with the han­dles stick­ing out?’

Con­nelly replied: ‘It was just a small butcher’s bag. I for­got to take it out. I was not in­tend­ing to sell it to any­one.’

Con­nolly dis­agreed with an ex­pert wit­ness, Constable John Hose, of the State­ment of Opin­ion Unit in Glas­gow, when he gave ev­i­dence to sug­gest there was enough for 78 bags worth of the class-A drug, shout­ing across the court that there was only enough for six bags.

Con­nolly then tried to give the court a les­son in dealer’s quan­ti­ties, say­ing quan­ti­ties in Glas­gow were much higher per ‘ten­ner bag’.

Mr Hose said: ‘The amount of heroin [in this case] is in­dica­tive of on­wards sup­ply.’

He said that find­ing the drugs in the rec­tum was one known way of con­ceal­ing drugs from any­one who might have known a dealer had them. Con­nolly shouted: ‘ He is ly­ing,’ be­fore be­ing rep­ri­manded by the sher­iff.

Con­nolly added: ‘I found it quite funny he [the ex­pert wit­ness] would claim any­one would ac­cept a deal that was un­der­weight when it [the drug] is so pre­cious to them.’

The court heard drug deal­ers of­ten un­der­cut the weight of il­le­gal drugs to max­imise profit.

Con­nolly said he bought the dealer’s quan­tity of drugs for his own use for ‘a bar­gain price’ of £200, some­thing he said he ‘couldn’t turn down’.

He added that he had bought the drugs to ‘cause him­self harm’ or to make him­self feel bet­ter af­ter an ar­gu­ment with his ex-part­ner over ac­cess to his son, aged two.

Sher­iff An­der­son said: ‘ The court gets quite a lot of this [un­truths] but the re­al­ity can be quite dif­fer­ent. His record does him no credit at this junc­ture.’

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