A teenager caught with 17 bags of cannabis will have a chance to prove that the offence was a “one-off”. Nineteen-year-old Jason Rutherford was spared a custodial sentence when he appeared at Haddington Sheriff Court last week. The sheriff accepted that the young window cleaner was attempting to make something of himself after being removed from a “criminal element” as a youngster. Rutherford, 23 Salters Road, Wallyford, was ordered to carry out 200 hour of unpaid work as part of a community payback order. He had previously admitted being concerned in the supply of a controlled class-B drug at The Grove near the River Esk, Musselburgh, on May 1.
The court heard police officers investigating another matter became aware of a strong smell of cannabis coming from a hut near the river. The accused, who was there with five other youths, was found to have a bag containing 17 individual bags of cannabis. The officers later went to the home of his grandparents, where he had been staying, and found another bag of cannabis and a grinder. Depute Fiscal Alison Innes said the drugs found at the riverside had a potential value of between £150 and £350. Defence agent David Cairns, described it as a “non-commercial venture” for Rutherford, who was supplying the cannabis on a social basis. Having been removed from a “criminal element” as a youngster, Mr Cairns said Rutherford had obtained qualifications at school, held down jobs and had never been involved in this type of offending before. Sheriff Peter Braid agreed to accept the recommendation of a social work report and imposed a community payback order.
While the offence would merit custody, the sheriff said he did not want Rutherford to follow the same path as others in his family.
But he told the accused: “You should be under no illusions that if you commit another offence of this gravity, you are likely to receive a custodial sentence.
“It is up to you to show that this is a one-off.”
More stories from Haddington Sheriff Court in this week’s Musselburgh News, on sale now.