Lawyer guilty of Edinburgh prison smuggling bid

David Blair Wilson was found guilty of trying to smuggle drugs and phones in to Edinburgh Prison. Picture: Bill Henry/TSPL
David Blair Wilson was found guilty of trying to smuggle drugs and phones in to Edinburgh Prison. Picture: Bill Henry/TSPL
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A LAWYER’S 30-year career is in ruins, after he was convicted of trying to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into jail.

David Blair Wilson, 55, claimed he knew nothing of heat-sealed packages which were found in his car during a visit to a client in Edinburgh Prison.

However, a jury returned a majority guilty verdict against Blair Wilson and he was allowed to remain on bail until sentencing next month.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Blair Wilson, a solicitor in Edinburgh, reported to the reception area of the prison on 6 October, 2011, for a pre-arranged consultation with Lee Brown, who was serving 18 years for attempted murder and other offences.

The jury saw closed circuit television footage of Blair Wilson carrying bulging files, and being told that they would be scanned before he was admitted. He was also asked to hand in his mobile phone. He told the officers he would leave his phone in his car and he went back to the vehicle.

When he returned to reception, the folders were much thinner. They were scanned, nothing untoward was found, and he went in to his meeting with Brown. After it finished, he returned to his car and police swooped “Starsky and Hutch-style”. Blair Wilson was detained and four packages were recovered from the Vauxhall Signum. They appeared to be bundles of white A4 paper but had clear plastic, heat-sealed coverings. They contained three mobile phones and SIM cards, and drugs including 859 diazepam tablets and two slabs of cannabis resin.

The jury was told that Blair Wilson had a friend, Steven Douglas, to whom he had been like a surrogate father, and that Douglas had become involved in drugs and owed money to some “serious” dealers. Brown knew the people involved and

Blair Wilson enlisted his help in saving Douglas from being “tea-bagged”, stabbed repeatedly so the blood flowed like tea from a perforated bag.

Blair Wilson said Douglas had access to his car, and he blamed him for putting the packages in it. He claimed to know nothing about them until they were found by the police. He denied he had gone back to his car to leave the packages because the folders were to be scanned. The folders were thinner, he insisted, because he had left paperwork in the car after learning he would be able to see Brown immediately and would not have time to read them while waiting.

Police insisted that the packages had been lying in open view in the driver’s footwell, but Blair Wilson said they were wrong.

“They must have come from under the driver’s seat. It is the only place they could have been,” he stated.

Graham Robertson, 25, a prison officer, gave evidence that Blair Wilson had been told virtually at the same time that his folders would be scanned and he would have to leave his mobile phone.

“He became quite anxious looking. He began to fidget. His body language changed slightly,” said Mr Robertson.

He said he attributed the change in demeanour to mention of scanning the folders, rather than the mobile phone.

Blair Wilson had said he was going back to his car to leave his phone, and was “more relaxed” when he returned.

The advocate-depute, John Scullion, submitted to the jury that Blair Wilson’s account “beggars belief and is an insult to your intelligence and commonsense.”

He described Brown as a “thoroughly sinister character” and pointed out that Brown had arranged for £200 to be paid into Blair Wilson’s bank account. At the time, the lawyer’s finances had been in a “precarious state”, added Mr Scullion, and he was paid to take the items into prison. Also, the problem with Douglas would have been resolved as part of his reward.