HMA v Quyen Van Phan 2018

Mr Phan was accused of growing cannabis and being concerned with the supply of class B drugs in April 2016 in Glasgow. However, he argued that he was a victim of human trafficking and was forced to committed these offences. However, he had his appeal against conviction rejected.

Mr Phan and his legal team argued that the prosecution was incompatible with the EU Human Trafficking Directive and the Convention on Human Rights. However following an appeal to he High court it was decided that the Crown has passed the test and that there was a strong presumption against prosecution of human trafficking victims and that this case did not fall in to the category.

The Home Office concluded that there was no reasonable basis that he was a victim of human trafficking back in 2016 and he was interviewed by police as a potential victim of human trafficking but this was investigated and dismissed. He was placed on petition for the charge. The case called before 11 sheriffs at 11 diets before it as remitted to the High Court.

It was then decided the case should be desserted simpliciter, since the issue of punishment posed a difficulty since evidence the fact that the minuter was a victim of trafficking was not a recognised defence in Scotland, as it was elsewhere in the UK.

At the appeal court it was argued that the coercion defence did not apply as there was no immediate danger and that he could not be given a fair trial and there would also be an issue of effective plea in mitigation. However the three appeal judges agreed that the Scottish system did provide the effective remedies.

Lord Justice stated: “An option not to prosecute a person for a particular crime has always been available in Scotland; it being a matter for the respondent to decide whether to do so in the public interest. Whether a person was a victim of trafficking is something which might have been taken into account in deciding whether to prosecute him for a particular crime.”