Man spared jail over drugs death

By honourableone · Apr 13, 2009 · ·
  1. honourableone
    A man has narrowly escaped being sent to jail for supplying ecstasy to a work colleague who died after taking the drug in a Glasgow nightclub.
    Russell Johnston, 19, originally from Kinross-shire, died after collapsing at the Arches nightclub in 2007.

    Ryan Smith, 24, was originally charged with culpable homicide after selling his workmate 25 ecstasy tablets.

    That charge was withdrawn but Smith, from Clydebank, was given 300 hours community service for drugs supply.

    Mr Johnston, who is from Powmill but was living in Glasgow at the time, had bought 25 tablets from Smith for £50.

    The former Dollar Academy pupil was clubbing with friends in the early hours of 1 April, 2007, when he collapsed.

    He was rushed to hospital in Glasgow and later transferred to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he died on 3 April.

    The teenager bought 25 ecstasy tablets for £xx

    Smith admitted being concerned in the supply of the drug to Mr Johnston.

    At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lady Smith said: "If one asks why it is parliament has legislated to make being concerned in the supply illegal the answer is simple: it is because they are dangerous, they are harmful, they can be extremely harmful, they wreck lives.

    "That is why a very serious view has to be taken of anyone who gets involved in the supply of these drugs.

    "It is not something glamorous, it is not fun, it is not something that can be treated lightly at all."

    Lady Smith said that for such a crime it was the "norm" that an offender receive a custodial sentence.

    But she added there were positive features in Smith's case - he was a first offender, the supply was on a single occasion and he was not involved in drug taking.

    The judge said that although the offence involved supply of a Class A drug the case could be regarded as exceptional.

    Defence counsel Mark Stewart QC said Smith was "a bright, intelligent young man" with a positive family background and that his involvement was a departure from the high standards normally expected of him.
    He said his client was a young man who had learnt "a harsh and lasting lesson".

    By BBC News, 7th April 2009
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  1. ConcertaXL
    Drugs are only dangerous in three circumstances:
    1) Overdose or inappropriate combinations. This can happen with alcohol so why is it legal? Oh yes, because the INCB decided to be "tolerant of a wide range of lifestyles." So they are tolerant of the most popular psychoactive (along with tobacco) but not of anyone who wishes to use a safer, more interesting substance such as MDMA or oxycodone? If they actually made alcohol a Schedule I or II drug, all non-Muslim nations would reject the treaty in toto and withdraw from the globally centralized anti-chemical regime. This would actually be a very positive step, so let's hope they do it!
    2)Adulterants and being unable to measure dose accurately. This is simply a consequence of prohibition.
    3)Allergic reaction- some people just drop dead because their body doesn't agree with the substance, for example if they are deficient in an enzyme required to metabolize the drug. This is a tragedy but the same can happen with nuts- about one in a few thousand people who eat nuts for the first time will have a potentially fatal reaction. Why are they not prohibited? The fact someone does not use drugs personally does not mitigate or exacerbate a charge of culpable homicide, which would be a simple accident verdict if the man had given his friend a prawn but unbeknown to the supplier, he had a lethal anaphylactic reaction to seafood.
    I am sick of family background being taken into account in court. The expectation that kids from broken homes and people who have been involved with child protection issues will offend, and their harsh treatment as "thugs" and the "underclass" when they do combined with hefty sentences, really ought to be changed. This is nothing more than class prejudice and elitism- if taking circumstances into account for any crime is EVER justified (which one would be implied to deny), those from affluent homes and law abiding families should be punished more harshly as they have no excuse of being raised in a cultural cycle of violence, deprivation, criminality and moral malaise.
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