Solicitor guilty of attempted smuggling at jail

Published: 22 Apr 2013 14:270 comments
A West Fife lawyer, who was swooped on by police in a ‘Starsky and Hutch’ style raid at Saughton Prison, is found guilty of attempted smuggling.

A DUNFERMLINE solicitor, caught trying to smuggle mobile phones and drugs into Edinburgh’s Saughton jail, could be returning there as a prisoner.
A trial saw dramatic CCTV footage of plain clothes police blocking any attempt by David Blair Wilson to drive away in his silver hatchback, then leading him away in handcuffs.
“They swooped in, Starsky and Hutch style, very impressive,” said defence QC Frances McMenamin.
A search of the car uncovered the phones, diazepam tablets which could have been worth £2800 at inflated prison prices and other contraband items.
Blair Wilson (55), of Edgar Street, insisted he did not know the suspect packages were there and blamed another man for any wrong-doing.
The lawyer enjoyed a brief notoriety more than 20 years ago when he helped clear a pal and fellow solicitor accused of embezzling more than £50,000 of clients’ money from his firm.
The trial of Colin Tucker – known to his friends as “Sophie” – sparked a break-in at the Fettes HQ of Lothian and Borders Police and a probe by a top judge.
This time it was Blair Wilson himself in the dock at the High Court in Edinburgh. At the end of a six day trial his 30 year legal career was in ruins.
Next month he is due to return to court to learn how long he will spend in jail. Because of his health problems judge Lord Jones allowed Blair Wilson to remain on bail – providing he surrenders his passport.
The trial heard of a bizarre triangle involving the solicitor, a heroin-addicted drug dealer he befriended more than a decade ago when he was a homeless teenager and a samurai-sword wielding thug.
It also seemed that detectives had been waiting to ambush Blair Wilson but nothing was said during the trial about what, or who, had prompted their suspicions.
On 6th October 2011, the solicitor had arranged to visit – in his professional capacity – Lee Brown (35) who told the trial he was serving a total of eighteen and a half years, a sentence for attempted murder dating back to 2004 with “a few bits and bobs” added since then.
CCTV footage showed Blair Wilson arriving at the Saughton jail carrying a bulging folder.
Prison officer Graham Robertson (25) described how he checked Blair Wilson’s ID and his colleague told the solicitor his folder had to be scanned.
“He became quite anxious looking, began to sort of fidget. His body language changed slightly,” said the prison officer.
Blair Wilson returned briefly to his Vauxhall Signum then came back into the prison vestibule. This time his file was noticeably thinner.
In the witness box, Blair Wilson said the suspect packages – the contents masked by white paper inside heat-sealed laminated envelopes – were nothing to do with him.
He said Steven Douglas – the youth he had befriended who regarded him as a mentor and surrogate dad – must have put them under the driver’s seat when he borrowed the car the previous evening.
There were 19 fingerprints on the packages which matched those of Mr Douglas. Not a single one matched Blair Wilson’s prints.
Mr Douglas should have appeared as a witness – but when asked where he was, Blair Wilson replied, “I wish I knew.”
The solicitor said Lee Brown, the prisoner who should have received the phones and drugs, had promised to help Mr Douglas – who had been living in fear of drug dealers’ heavies since he accidentally left a valuable package of heroin in his jeans when they went through the wash.
Blair Wilson said they had threatened to “widen Mr Douglas’ smile” or “tea bag” him – stab him so many times that he was full of holes.
Brown was supposed to be brokering a peace and his role was the subject of text messages, phone calls and discussed at prison visits during the days leading up to Blair Wilson’s arrest.
In his closing speech to the jury, advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, dismissed Blair Wilson’s story.
“The account beggars belief and is an insult to your intelligence and common sense,” he said.
However, even the prosecutor had to concede that the police evidence had been “less than impressive” and “confused.”
Defence QC Frances McMenamin was even more scathing. The police had failed to bring in a photographer to show exactly where the packages were found, she said.
They had failed to keep a proper productions log and there had been confusion about the opening of the packages in the police station.
The position of the packages was crucial to the Crown case but the officers “didn’t give a shirt” she accused.
A jury’s majority verdict convicted Blair Wilson of attempting to smuggle three mobile phones, three SIM cards along with two chargers and two earphones into the jail.
He was also found guilty, by majority, of being concerned in the supply of cannabis resin, diazepam and body-building drugs – in particular to Lee Brown.
During the trial, charges of breaching the Prisons (Scotland) Act by introducing drugs into the jail were dropped.

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