Thursday, March 12, 2009

Celtic fan jailed for drug smuggling

In February Celtic fan McAdam, 41 – on bail pending the outcome of his appeal against conviction – begged judges to give him his passport back so that he could follow his team to Barcelona for a crucial Champions League match.

His request was turned down.

A BUSINESSMAN who helped smuggle a multi-million pound consignment of cocaine into Scotland had his jail sentence cut by two years – because he has faced years of worry in prison.

James Mair, 43, from Cumnock ran a transport business which played a key part in the plan to import half a tonne of the drug, with a street value of £24.7 million.

But defence QC Gordon Jackson told appeal judges in Edinburgh that Mair was “just a courier” and that his 18 year jail term was too long.

“I am not suggesting it is not a serious thing to be,” he said.

He went on: “But he is not the person who has control, the main drug dealer.”

Lord Clarke, sitting with Lord Penrose, disagreed.

But the judges also heard that Mair’s appeal had been held up because another man – also jailed for 18 years – is still trying to challenge his conviction.

Mair had faced many years of uncertainty, said Mr Jackson.

The judges agreed and cut Mair’s sentence to 16 years because of the “very significant time” he had waited to discover what his jail term would be.

The trial in 2003 heard that the cocaine was hidden in bales of raw rubber shipped from Panama and backed by bogus faxes to account for the importation, using the name of Mair’s company.

Customs officers, suspicious because of the unusual nature of the cargo, discovered the cocaine, swapped it for sand, then followed the consignment before making arrests.

Mair and William Grant from Bothwell, Lanarkshire, were jailed for 18 years.

Two accomplices who played lesser roles were also jailed.

David Frew from Kilmarnock was sentenced to 12 years and Sean McAdam, also from Kilmarnock, was jailed for 10 years.
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