Student found in possession of cocaine given absolute discharge by sheriff

Student found in possession of cocaine given absolute discharge by sheriff

A student who was caught with cocaine in a nightclub in Aberdeen has not been punished after a sheriff said a conviction would “blight” his career prospects.

Conor McCarthy, who studied mechanical engineering at the University of Strathclyde, was found with a bag of the class-A drug by police officers The Press and Journal reports.

Mr McCarthy, 21, was out celebrating with friends after finishing his exams.

He admitted possessing cocaine at Aberdeen Sheriff Court but was granted an absolute discharge by Sheriff W.J Taylor after the court heard the criminal record could ruin his career prospects.

Labour MSP for Aberdeen Central Lewis Macdonald said the courts should not treat people favourably simply because of their education or background.

He said: “It is important the system is even-handed in the way it treats people. An offence is an offence no matter who carries it out.

“There should be no social prejudices, no matter what, when dealing with these cases.”

Solicitor Gregor Kelly, for Mr McCarthy, said the student was offered drugs valued at about £35.

He said: “He was back in Aberdeen and had been offered some cocaine. He is rather naive and immature and is not often in Aberdeen and was caught up in the moment of the big city.”

Mr Kelly added: “He is headed for a first- class degree and this would be a major blight to his future.”

Agreeing, Sheriff Taylor said: “Having previous convictions for drug offences can blight one’s career in all sorts of ways, I do not want you to have that, and in all the circumstances I grant you an absolute dis-charge.”

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