A serial drug dealer was allowed to walk free from court because a sheriff decided he was too “vulnerable” to send to prison.
Roy Green – who continued dealing heroin through his letterbox despite being housebound – was instead fined £2,200 and given nearly four years to pay it at £50 per month.
Sheriff William Wood said: “I think there would be substantial and significant difficulties for Mr Green if he was sent to custody, even though that’s normally what ought to happen.
Sheriff: ‘Little point sending you to prison in your current condition’
“In the normal course of events I would send you to prison for this because of your record. Clearly you are not a first offender. You’ve got quite a history and background.”
Sheriff Wood told Perth Sheriff Court on Friday: “There seems little point in sending you to prison in your current condition.
“He is probably very vulnerable. There is no point giving a man with COPD [Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease] a Restriction of Liberty Order because he’s probably not going out anyway.
“That can only really take me to a financial penalty. Supplying heroin to anyone is a serious offence and has got to be punished, so I am going to impose a substantial fine.”
Green had previously begged the sheriff not to send him to jail because he was afraid he would die behind bars.
Prison wouldn’t have coped with his needs, says solicitor
Solicitor Billy Somerville said on Friday: “If he were to receive a custodial sentence it is highly unlikely the prison will be able to cope with his needs.
“If he has a seizure he must immediately be given oxygen and turned on to his side so he doesn’t swallow his tongue.
“My concern is that if that happened the response from the prison officers would not be quick enough. I appreciate it is his third conviction for being concerned in the supply or having intent to supply.”
The 63-year-old- who uses an oxygen tank to help him breathe – had been assessed for a custodial sentence by the Scottish Prison Service.
Sheriff Wood previously said: “I need to explore whether the Scottish Prison Service can accommodate Mr Green’s needs. It seems to me that only a custodial sentence is appropriate in this case.
“For someone in your situation, with your record, it is very difficult to see what other meaningful sentence can be imposed.”
The court was told that Green had been diagnosed with cancer on top of a number of other health problems.
“He basically doesn’t leave the house. He has oxygen in the house,” Mr Somerville said. “He is fearful of the prospect of custody because it could mean dying in prison.”
The court was told that Green, gasping heavily and severely hunched as he walked into the dock, had a number of serious ailments.
Mr Somerville said: “He is not well. He suffers from numerous ailments. All of these make it extremely difficult for him to get around.
“He requires more oxygen than normal. He is on oxygen most days.”
The same court heard in a previous case that Green had been making £20,000 per year selling heroin without ever having to leave his home.
In that case he was jailed for 33 months in 2016 after he admitted making around £350 a week by pushing heroin out through his letterbox to desperate addicts.