A father-of-three whose house was searched for drugs after his strange behaviour following a minor collision roused police suspicions was handed a five-year sentence on Thursday.
Robert Linton Scott was informed he will spend half the sentence in prison, with the remainder on licence upon his release from jail, after he admitted possessing the Class A drug cocaine with intent to supply.
Sending the 35-year old Belfast man to jail, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC spoke of both the quantity and purity of the cocaine seized and said “untold damage” could have been caused, had the drugs found their way onto the street.
Belfast Crown Court heard that Scott’s Dhu Varren Park home was searched after he was involved in a minor collision on the Springfield Road which occurred in front of PSNI officers on April 8 last year.
When officers who witnessed the collision spoke to Scott at the scene, his “somewhat nervous and anxious” behaviour roused suspicions. His car was searched and officers located a plastic bag wrapped in another bag which contained the mixing agent Benzocaine.
Prosecuting barrister Gareth Purvis revealed that the following day Scott’s home was searched, and cocaine was found at three different locations. This including 121.32 grams with a purity of 63% and 614b grams with a 7% purity.
A total of 740 grams of the Class A drug was found, with an estimated street value of around £30,000.
Mt Purvis told the court that while Scott came before the court with 135 convictions on his criminal record, there were no offences for drugs.
Defence barrister Richard McConkey revealed that at the time of the seizure, Scott wasn’t long out of prison for a prior offence, was living in difficult domestic circumstances and was availing of the help of charities to get himself “up and running.”
These difficulties, the barrister said, led to Scott “allowing himself to be used”.
Mr McConkey also pointed out the search of Scott’s home came about due to a “chance encounter” on the Springfield Road which occurred right in front of police, and not because he was on the police radar for drugs.
After listening to submissions from both the Crown and defence, Judge Miller said he accepted Scott was “acting as a go-between rather than a central figure”.
Saying there was “nothing to indicate he has a significant role” in the operation, the Judge branded Scott’s record as “horrendous” - but acknowledged there were no drugs convictions.