HMA v Scott Gow and Eric Reid 2019

Mr Gow and Mr Reid, who were sentenced to five years and five years and six months imprisonment respectively for supplying ‘legal highs,’ have had their appeals against conviction and sentence rejected. The value of the legal highs was said to be over 1 and a half million pounds.

The appellant’s legal team argued that the trial judge that presided over the trial at Glasgow High Court in 2018 had erred in directing the jury and in not allowing a defence no case to answer submission. It was accepted by both appellants that they were involved with these substances prior to them being outlawed in 2016 and they argued that the judge misdirected the jury by stating that the crown was entitled to rely on this as evidence in order to assist in proving the charge. However, the appeal was refused, and the Appeal Judges at the High Court in Edinburgh concluded: “The scale of the admitted operation prior to the coming into force of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 was relevant to the proof of a continuing operation on the same scale as was apparent when the premises were searched on 1 March 2017…

Having regard to the other circumstantial evidence, the jury would have been entitled to infer that the same operation, involving the same personnel, had been conducted before and after the relevant date. No objection was taken to the evidence which related to the pre-Act involvement and which was libelled as some form of culpable and reckless conduct in the docket attached to the indictment.” It was concluded that the trial judge correctly directed the jury that prior to May 2016 the activities were not outlawed and that it could not be said that he had erred. Therefore, the appeal was refused against conviction and also against sentence for both men as there was no basis to this.