SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

A judge may decide to publish a statement after passing sentence on an offender in cases where there is particular public interest; where a case has legal significance; or where providing the reasons for the decision might assist public understanding.

Please note that statements may include graphic details of offences when it is necessary to fully explain the reasons behind a sentencing decision.  

Follow us if you wish to receive alerts as soon as statements are published. 

Statements are removed after around 12 months, but may be available on request. Please email judicialcomms@scotcourts.gov.uk

The independence of the judiciary is essential to safeguard people’s rights under law - enabling judges to make decisions impartially based solely on evidence and law, without interference or influence from the government or politicians.

When deciding a sentence, a judge must deal with the offence that the offender has been convicted of, taking into account the unique circumstances of each particular case. The judge will carefully consider the facts that are presented to the Court by both the prosecution and by the defence.

For more information about how judges decide sentences; what sentences are available; and matters such as temporary release, see the Scottish Sentencing Council website.

Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.

Read more about civil judgments.

HMA v Scott Roddie and Connor Holmes

 

May 11, 2021

At the High Court in Edinburgh today Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced Scott Roddie and Connor Holmes after the offenders pleaded guilty to offences involving the trafficking of class A drugs. Scott Roddie was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months imprisonment and Connor Holmes was sentenced to 2 years and 3 months imprisonment.


On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:

“The addiction to class A drugs is a significant problem in our society. It causes untold health problems and misery to those who become addicted, their families and friends, and to the communities where these drugs becomes rife. Those who traffic in such drugs think nothing of these problems; indeed they actively fuel that addiction and use it for their own advantage.

You, Scott Roddie involved yourself in a criminal scheme which brought large amounts of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, into Aberdeen which you then distributed through the postal service.

The two parcels which were intercepted by the Border Force were addressed to you Connor Holmes. Given the terms of your plea I do not accept that you were unaware of the nature of what was in these parcels. As you know they contained in total four packages containing 8 kilos of MDMA worth over £640,000.

When officers executed a search warrant on the property which you Connor Holmes rented they found a locked room occupied by you Scott Roddie.

In that room officers found over 73,000 ecstasy tablets worth over £730,000, over £8000 in cash and the paraphernalia for onward sale and distribution of the drugs. It appears that this was done by post.

Post office receipts showed that you had made two purchases of postage stamps on 27 November and 11 December 2018. The value of these purchases was about £800 - enough for over 400 potential deliveries.

Officers also seized a laptop from which it can be seen that there were a further 11 packages delivered to the address between 14 November and 14 December 2018.

A number of witnesses told officers that they purchased the drugs through a website known as Dream Market and paid in bitcoin. There is no doubt that this was a very significant drug operation.

In ordinary course given the quantity of drugs involved and the length of time over which this operation was sustained the sentence that I would have passed on you Scott Roddie might have been in the region of 8 or 9 years.

But I have been persuaded by your counsel that there is a degree of mitigation which I can exercise in this case. I accept that you were to an extent acting under direction from others. I accept that the previous convictions, though relevant, are so minor that I should disregard them.

You have a good work record. You are well regarded by others and it is to your credit that you have involved yourself in voluntary work with the Red Cross.

In all the circumstances had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of 7 years imprisonment. You pleaded guilty in terms acceptable to the Crown at what would have been the trial diet. I accept nevertheless that the plea has some utilitarian value. Accordingly I shall discount the sentence to one of 6 years 3 months.

You have served a week in prison on this matter. You were remanded in custody following the plea on 30 March this year. Accordingly in order to give you the benefit of the time spent on remand I shall notionally backdate the sentence to 23 March 2021.

Connor Holmes

It is clear from the social work report that you have done your best to minimise your role in this matter and to put most of the blame on your co-accused. Nevertheless I accept that your part is very much less than that of Scott Roddie.

Parcels were sent to you as well as Mr Roddie at the address you shared with Mr Roddie. They were stored in a room occupied by him and to which you did not have access. I accept that you were not involved in the onward transmission of the drugs. Nevertheless for a period of two months you helped facilitate the trade in a class A drug.

You were 22 years of age when you became involved in this matter. You have a trade as an electrician and have been in work. I have a reference from your employer in positive terms. You have a supportive family and no doubt your conviction will impact on them. But you got yourself involved in serious criminality which can only be marked by a custodial sentence.

Given the limited nature of your involvement I can exercise a degree of leniency. Had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of 3 years imprisonment.

You offered to plead guilty in the same terms now accepted by the Crown at the preliminary hearing. In those circumstances you are entitled to the benefit of a larger discount than your co-accused. I shall discount the sentence to one of 2 years 3 months imprisonment.

You too have spent a week in custody on remand. Accordingly I shall backdate the sentence to 23 March 2021.”