A sheriff has taken pity on a terminally ill man who admitted to storing drugs at his home.
Vincent McKeown, 64, had been making use of cannabis oil to treat his illness – a rare form of leukemia.
His defence, Ian Woodward Nutt said, he had “exhausted all other treatment” and was using experimental drugs as a result to “alleviate his pain.”
Fiscal depute Lucy Simpson then explained to the court that on December 14 last year, a man came to McKeown’s home, at Oldcroft Court in Aberdeen, and asked to store a quantity of drugs there.
McKeown was allegedly “intimated” by the man, who was an associate of an individual he bought cannabis oil from and agreed to store the drugs.
The following day, police received intelligence that drugs were present at the 64-year-old’s home and subsequently searched the property.
Officers found 10 blocks of cannabis resin, with a potential street value of £3,000, in a hallway cupboard.
A smaller quantity of cannabis resin worth just £20 was found in a kitchen cupboard.
McKeown appeared for sentencing at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday having pled guilty to supplying cannabis resin to another on March 20.
Mr Woodward Nutt urged Sheriff Graham Buchanan not to impose a custodial sentence due to his client’s condition.
He said: “A great deal of publicity has been given to alternative therapies – and this case highlights the potential consequences of their use.
“My client is sadly terminally ill with a form of leukaemia and turned to experimental drugs after he exhausted all other treatment.
“In recent months he has had repeated trips to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary as he is susceptible to infection now that he has completed chemotherapy.
“Mr McKeown felt intimidated when asked to store the drugs in December and that is why he did so for a short amount of time – less than 24 hours.”
Sheriff Buchanan accepted that neither a jail sentence nor unpaid work would be suitable punishment for the 64-year-old, given his condition.
He said: “You were taken advantage of and this shows the dangers of becoming involved with unscrupulous people.
“I accept that in many similar situations the court would look for a substantial punishment, that could involve a custodial sentence.
“I’m not going to do that.
The sheriff said that in what were “somewhat exceptional circumstances”, he was willing to impose a fine, restricted to £300.”