PROSECUTORS who pursued the ill-gotten gains of a £2 million drug dealer have managed to seize just a watch and £142 under proceeds of crime laws.
Drug trafficker and convicted killer Bernard Flanagan was being pursued through the courts for nearly £90,000 in crime profits, but only £4444.80 in assets could be found.
The 25-year-old’s Rolex watch, valued at £4300, made up the bulk of the confiscation order made at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday.
But prosecutors defended the seizure as “the figure available to us at this time”, adding that Flanagan’s future earnings and assets could still be liable for confiscation.
Flanagan was jailed for eight years in 2010 for his role in a major cocaine operation, which cut and distributed the drug in the Edinburgh area after it was brought from Liverpool.
The drug dealer, formerly of Almond Crescent in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, was also jailed for three years in 2004 after he admitted killing welder Christopher O’Donnell, 23, with a single punch in an argument over a taxi queue.
Following his imprisonment for the drugs offences, the Crown’s Civil Recovery Unit identified £86,292 made by Flanagan from “general criminal conduct”.
But the court heard yesterday that his “realisable assets” consisted of the watch and cash held in a TSB bank account.Lord Bannatyne gave Flanagan, who appeared in court from custody for the hearing, 28 days to pay the order.
Lindsey Miller, head of the Crown Office’s Serious and Organised Crime Division and the current Proceeds of Crime Act champion, said: “Drug dealing is classed as a ‘lifestyle offence’ under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This meant the court could look at his income over the six years’ prior to his arrest and found that £86,292 could not be accounted for legitimately. Today’s confiscation order for £4444.80 represents the figure available to us at this time.
“If Mr Flanagan obtains any cash or assets in the future the Crown can ask the court to recalculate the confiscation order up to the value of £86,000.” His drug trial heard that Flanagan was responsible for handling an estimated £2m worth of cocaine.
After a four-week trial at the High Court in Livingston, a jury found Flanagan guilty of being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug between May 2007 and October 2008.
A year-long surveillance operation had resulted in a number of seizures of cocaine, of around 17 kilos with a street value of between £474,000 and £1m, .
Flanagan was celebrating his 18th birthday when he killed a stranger with a single punch on April 16, 2004.
Welder Christopher O’Donnell, 23, was attacked as he got into a taxi in Dalkeith, and died in hospital the following day. Police launched a murder hunt, describing the attack as “savage and unprovoked”.