Garry O’Connor fails in bid to overturn cocaine charge

The Sheriff Court in Edinburgh

The Sheriff Court in Edinburgh

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FORMER Hibs footballer Garry O’Connor today failed in a bid to overturn his conviction for possessing cocaine and obstructing police.

• Former Hibs footballer bid to overturn cocaine charge and obstructing police rejected by judge

• O’Connor was convicted of misleading police by giving false name before running away after being apprehended by police

The ex-Scotland striker was found guilty of the offences last year at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work.

O’Connor, 29, challenged the conviction but judges at the Justiciary Appeal Court in Edinburgh have now refused his appeal.

His solicitor advocate Simon Collins argued that there was no obstruction of the police and that his arrest for it was unlawful as was the subsequent finding of drugs on him.

But Lord Menzies, who heard the appeal with Lady Smith and Lord Kingarth, said: “We are satisfied that the conduct of the appellant is properly categorised as obstructing and hindering the police officers in the execution of their duty.”

The senior judge said that when O ‘Connor was asked by an officer for his details he began to give “a wrong and misleading name” and pushed past and ran off.

Lord Menzies said that his arrest for contravening the Police (Scotland) Act was not wrongful or unjustified and items recovered in a search were properly admissible as evidence.

O’Connor, of Dirleton, East Lothian, was with others in a Land Rover in Edinburgh city centre on May 14, 2011 when an officer suspected drugs might be getting taken.

He was asked his name and replied “Johnstone” but when called on to spell it began “J-O-S”. He then said he had to take a p*** and ran off before being detained.

About pounds 460 worth of the Class A drug was subsequently recovered.

Following the appeal judges’ decision advocate depute Ashley Edwards asked them to re-impose the community payback order on O’Connor, which had been suspended, which they agreed to do.