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Court / Jail for woman involved in supply of heroin

A WOMAN has been imprisoned for 15 months for her part in supplying heroin from her house in Lerwick.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday how Yvonne Duncan had played a part in supplying the class A drug when police found her opening a packet in her bedroom containing 6.81 grammes of diamorphine (heroin).

During the search of Duncan’s South Road house in Lerwick, officers discovered a bigger cache of the drug (83.76 grammes) in an ottoman at the foot of her bed on 8 January last year.

The police, who had been acting on a tip-off, also found a non-functioning set of scales with traces of heroin and a Tupperware box with re-sealable plastic bags.

The total value of the drugs was put at from £2,221 to over £7,000, depending on how it was packaged and re-sold.

Duncan had pleaded guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing.

Duncan’s defence agent, notable QC Donald Findlay, said that his 47-year-old client had been guilty of an omission rather than an act. It was accepted by the Crown that receipt of the drug was her only involvement in its supply.

Findlay said that Duncan had “begun to have concerns” over her ex-partner’s use of heroin in 2015. These were confirmed following a tragedy at sea, for which he was imprisoned.

Findlay said the ex-partner was eventually stabbed over a suspected drug debt and that fear of her ex-partner and of those he might owe money to had made her go along with the plan.

She had also overheard a conversation where he had been arranging to have the drugs sent to her address.

Findlay said that Duncan was under no illusion about the seriousness of the offence. He suggested that she could afford to pay a fine or could complete a non-custodial disposal.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said that being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug was a serious matter. Her criminal justice social work report confirmed that she had never used the drug and was aware of the harm it caused in the community.

He accepted that Duncan’s involvement did not go beyond a single day but that had to be balanced against the fact she knew about the drug delivery that was being arranged and was suspicious about the packet.

He also considered that Duncan was under a degree of pressure but her inactivity was aimed at turning her home into a “safe house” for the operation.

The sheriff concluded that the only appropriate sentence was imprisonment and jailed Duncan for 15 months.