A man was forced into transporting narcotics after he couldn’t repay a loan he took out from drug dealers to pay for a friend’s funeral, a court has heard.
Liam O’Grady, 31, appeared “nervous” when he was pulled over by police in December 2019 on the A90 Perth to Dundee road.
Officers found him carrying cocaine and heroin potentially worth more than £40,000 and he was arrested and eventually given a four-and-a-half year jail term.
On Friday, defence advocate Wendy Hay told the Court of Criminal Appeal that O’Grady had became involved in the drugs trade because of his personal circumstances.
Ms Hay said: “He had became involved after he accumulated a significant debt in relation to a funeral for a friend. The repayments became problematic. He borrowed the money from the wrong people and he struggled to pay it back.”
O’Grady, of Nottingham, pleaded guilty to being involved in the supply of drugs in March 2020 at Perth Sheriff Court.
Sheriff William Wood heard how police detained O’Grady on December 18 2019.
The court heard that O’Grady, from Nottingham, had stopped off in Liverpool and collected a backpack containing the illicit powders before driving north to Scotland.
Prosecution lawyer Eilidh Robertson said traffic police were on duty that evening during torrential rain.
They decided to stop O’Grady’s car because of an issue with its lights.
Officers concluded that O’Grady was carrying drugs because of his nervous demeanour and found the substances.
Passing sentence, Sheriff William Wood said: “Drugs are a scourge on society.
“They cause misery to families and other people – and affect not just individuals but the very fabric of society. “People can’t cope without them.”
On Friday, Ms Hay told judges Lord Turnbull and Lord Woolman that the sentence imposed on her client was excessive.
She added: “He very much regrets the extremely poor choice he made in relation to how he dealt with the debt.”
The judges agreed to reduce the sentence to 40 months.
Lord Turnbull added: “We shall permit a discount.”