Gary Bolster, 45, from Portstewart was today unanimously found not guilty by a jury in less than 45 minutes after a three day trial at Antrim Crown Court.
Mr Bolster was charged that on 12th August 2016 in Coleraine he possessed a Class B drug, amphetamine (commonly known as speed), and that he also possessed 8 ounces of the same drug with intent to supply. The defendant, who has a long-standing problem with amphetamines, always maintained he had the drug for his own use and not to supply it to others.
The PSNI and Public Prosecution Service maintained that the amount of the drugs and its purity (13%) were inconsistent with personal use of amphetamine.
The defence countered that there was no evidence in the case that would point toward drug dealing. The defendant’s phone was seized and no incriminating messages were found. Similarly, PSNI found no dealing lists, money, or unexplained wealth connected with the accused.
Ciarán Shiels from Madden & Finucane, who represented Mr Bolster, said today following the jury’s verdict:
“We welcome the jury’s decision in this case. They quickly saw this case for what it was and it is unfortunate that the Police and Prosecution did not do likewise. The defendant is a man who requires the assistance of addiction services. He is a man with a 30 year history of addiction to amphetamine. He is in no way a drug dealer. He always denied the allegation he was involved in the supply of illegal drugs. He purchased the substances for £240.
“The jury’s decision in this case is a rejection of the PSNI policy to grossly over-estimate the street values of drugs. In this case, on the morning of trial, an experienced police officer submitted a statement that he valued the drugs in excess of £8,320. We called expert evidence to rebut this misleading assertion yesterday afternoon and clearly the jury had concerns about the evidence it heard. Instead of commencing a lengthy prison sentence in Maghaberry, the defendant will be able to continue with the treatment he has been undergoing for addiction to amphetamines.”