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HMA v Christopher Tiffoney and James Jamieson


Oct 23, 2023

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Scott sentenced Christopher Tiffoney and James Jamieson to 4 years and 9 months in prison. The pair pled guilty to being involved in serious organised crime and the supply of drugs. They will also be subject to Serious Crime Prevention Orders for 3 years after their release.

On sentencing, Lord Scott said:

“You have both pled guilty to a charge in identical terms, that is that you were involved in serious organised crime and agreed with each other and others to concern yourselves in the sale and supply of the class A drugs cocaine and heroin and the class B drug cannabis.  You took part knowingly for a period of 2 months in a significant organised criminal operation which involved millions of pounds worth of these drugs.  The indictment refers in particular to your roles in arranging for Christopher Tinsley and Darren Collin to play their more restricted roles in the supply of drugs.

Your involvement continued even after the arrest on 20 April 2020 of Christopher Tinsley who appears to have been involved as a courier for 40kg of cocaine.  He pled guilty by section 76 procedure which facilitates an early plea and was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for being concerned in the supplying of cocaine on a single day.  Darren Collin was arrested on 29 April 2020.  Searches connected to him recovered a total of £517,675 in cash, 12kg of heroin, 5kg of cocaine and 300kg of various mixing agents.  He pled guilty by section 76 procedure to being concerned in the supplying of cocaine and heroin over a period of 5 days and was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.  Their roles appear to have been less significant in the overall operation than yours.

Your counsel have rightly acknowledged the gravity of the charge and the inevitability of a custodial sentence.

Of primary significance in this case is the value given for the drugs which form part of your involvement in serious organised crime.

The CJSWRs provide me with background on you and how you each came to be involved in serious organised crime.  You have both been remarkably frank with the authors of the reports.  You both accept becoming involved purely for financial gain.  As has been suggested by both of your counsel, this motivation is far more frequently true than ever admitted and I do give you some credit for it.

Mr McConnachie and Mr McSporran have highlighted your insight into the impact of drugs on society which has been heightened by your period on remand.  They have also highlighted your regret, especially for your children and families.

I have considered and also take into account the terms of the reports about each of you and all that has been carefully said on your behalf today by Mr McConnachie and Mr McSporran.

Having regard to the whole circumstances of the case, in particular the gravity of the crime, only a custodial sentence is appropriate.  It is necessary to punish you and to seek to deter you and others from behaving in this way.

Although Mr Tiffoney has a worse criminal record, it is of some age and I make no distinction between you on that account.

It is worth observing that there is a significant difference between the charge to which you have pled guilty, which is a contravention of section 28(1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, and that to which Mr Tinsley and Mr Collin pled guilty, namely being concerned in the supplying of a class A drug.  That charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment whereas the charge you face carries a maximum sentence of only 10 years imprisonment.  While what you have pled guilty to is extremely serious, I have to recognise that there could be more serious examples of this charge, for example, extending over a period of years rather than months or involving roles higher up the chain of command.  Inevitably this difference will lead to sentences in your case which might appear relatively lenient but comparison is meaningless as the charges are very different, as rightly acknowledged by the Advocate Depute.

But for your plea of guilty, in each case the sentence would have been one of 6 and a half years imprisonment.

I must and do recognise that there is a utilitarian value - that is primarily that there has been a saving of court time.  This is the most significant aspect of mitigation in your case.  I will therefore reduce the period of 6 and a half years by approximately 25%.  That gives a final sentence of 4 years 9 months imprisonment.  The sentence is backdated to 8 September 2023.

In both cases, I will impose a Serious Crime Prevention Order for a period of 3 years.  This will take effect from the date of your release.”

23 October 2023