A soldier caught dealing high-purity cocaine worth nearly £47,000 has avoided jail after a sheriff said the stress he suffered during combat in Afghanistan may have affected his judgment.
George Hunt was serving as a gunner in the First Royal Horse Artillery when he began dealing the drug.
Sheriff Alastair Brown told Hunt that while his drug dealing could not be blamed entirely on his psychological condition, it was “significant”.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard that a week after he was discharged from the British Army last October for failing a drugs test, Hunt was stopped at traffic lights in Duncan Place by police.
They searched his car and found a 125 gram bag of 75% purity cocaine — far stronger than the 10% pure drug commonly found on streets.
Officers also found 2kg of a bulking agent used to cut the drug into smaller deals, meaning Hunt could have turned the substances into drugs worth up to £46,850.
Fiscal depute John Adams told the court: “Texts were found on his phone which suggest supply to others between September 10 and the date of his arrest. In six of those exchanges, other people proactively want him to supply, while in four others it is him who proactively approaches them.”
Hunt, 23, of Helmsdale Avenue, admitted being concerned in the supply of drugs last September and October.
Solicitor advocate Kris Gilmartin, defending, said Hunt’s last tour of Afghanistan led him to turn to drink and drugs and added: “Immediately on return, he began binge drinking and abusing cocaine and that became an addiction.
“He did seek help but the addiction had a fairly strong hold of him. He failed a drugs test and was discharged from the army and was unemployed, unemployable and had no money whatsoever.”
Sheriff Brown told Hunt: “There has been placed before me a psychology report, which offers me the opinion that, as a result of your military service, you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“That is not the only factor in bringing you where you are but it appears to be a very significant one.
“I have heard it said, for example by organisations such as Combat Stress, that the provision for servicemen who suffer mental health difficulties as a result of their service is not adequate.
“No doubt, the Ministry of Defence would have a different perspective, but there is at least some possibility that there is a gap as identified by Combat Stress.”
Hunt was ordered to undertake 300 hours of unpaid work.