A drug dealer who bought a disguised stun gun for his own protection but couldn’t get it to work has been jailed for two years.
Barry Whyte, 41, told detectives that the weapon, which looked like an iPhone, couldn’t injure anybody because the battery was empty and he couldn’t find a charger for it.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard on Wednesday how Whyte made the admission after police raided his home in Farquhar Road, Aberdeen, on June 23 2017.
Officers went to the property after receiving a tip off that he was selling drugs. They found small quantities of diazepam, which proved their suspicions that he had been involved in the illegal sale of narcotics from June 10 that year.
Whyte was facing an automatic five year prison term because by possessing the item, he was breaching strict firearms legislation.
However, on Wednesday defence advocate Bill Adam convinced Lady Scott that there were exceptional circumstances surrounding Whyte’s possession of the stun gun.
Mr Adam said these circumstances meant the five year term shouldn’t be given to his client.
He told Lady Scott that because Mr Whyte didn’t have a charger and wasn’t going to obtain one, there was no intention present for him to use it. He also said that even if the device was charged, the user had to connect wiring in the weapon was also another indication that Whyte didn’t intend to cause any harm from his possession of the weapon.
Passing sentence, Lady Scott said that exceptional circumstances had been established.
She added: “You did not have a charger and you did not intend to get one and it it was charged it had to have the wiring reconnected.
“I am satisfied that in the present case the original intention behind the purchase of the weapon has dissipated and that there was no longer a threat.”
Whyte, whose address was given in court as Church Crescent, New Pitsligo, pleaded guilty before judge Lady Scott last March to being involved in the supply of diazepam between June 10 2017 and June 23 2017.
He also admitted breaching the 1968 Firearms Act by possessing a stun gun disguised as a mobile phone.
Sentence had been deferred for the court to obtain reports about Whyte’s character.
At previous proceedings, prosecution lawyer Mark McGuire said that Whyte admitted to officers that stun gun was his.
He added: “Regarding the disguised stun gun, the accused stated that he had bought it for his own protection but had been unable to get it to work because he could not obtain a charger.”
Mr McGuire also told the court that detectives also established that Whyte had been selling diazepam to other drug users since June 10 2017.
The court also heard that Whyte, a self employed panel beater, had 38 previous convictions for drugs offences and dishonesty.
On Thursday, Mr Adam told Lady Scott that Whyte’s offending stemmed from his drug use. He said that the accused was taking positive steps to address his addiction.
He said that the circumstances surrounding the offence and Whyte’s behaviour in tackling his problem mean that his client should receive a non custodial sentence.
Mr Adam added: “He has turned his life around. The offence to which he has been convicted of took place three years ago – he has taken steps to address his behaviour.
“If he were to receive a custodial sentence, there is a possibility that he could regress and I would ask your ladyship to consider the work that he is doing at the moment.
“I would ask your ladyship to allow him to continue that work by imposing a non custodial sentence.”
However, Lady Scott told Whyte that she had no other option but to send him to prison.
She added: “The offence of which you have been convicted of is still a serious one and I’m satisfied that I have to give you a custodial sentence.
“I sentence you to two years imprisonment.”