Drug dealer ‘forgot’ he had 78 bags worth of heroin
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.
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.’
His record does him no credit” Sheriff Ruth Anderson QC