AN inmate arranged for money to be paid into a lawyer’s bank account in the days before the solicitor allegedly tried to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into jail, a jury has heard.
• Inmate denies arranging drugs and phones to be smuggled into prison in exchange for £200 payment
• Lee Brown said accused lawyer Blair Wilson’s payment was for legal work done for a friend
Lee Brown denied that the £200 was payment for David Blair Wilson’s delivering a package to him. He insisted it was because Blair Wilson had done some legal work for a friend.
Brown described as “rubbish” suggestions that he had worked with Blair Wilson in the smuggling attempt at Edinburgh Prison. He said: “If I was involved in that, I would be sitting in the dock beside him.”
Blair Wilson denies trying to introduce drugs, including cannabis resin and diazepam, and three mobile phones and SIM cards into the prison on 6 October, 2011. He has incriminated another man, Steven Douglas.
The High Court in Edinburgh has heard that Blair Wilson had a consultation with Brown that day, and was detained in the car park. Four packages were recovered from his vehicle. The packages had none of his fingerprints, but prints from Douglas were found on them.
Brown said he was serving 18 years for attempted murder and “bits and bobs” while inside. He had known Blair Wilson for about three years. He had never met Douglas but understood from Blair Wilson that he was the lawyer’s stepson. Blair Wilson also told him Douglas was in trouble with certain people and owed money.
“He knew I knew a lot of people throughout Scotland in the prison system. I don’t know why he confided in me but he did. I offered some help. I was going to speak to the guys concerned and see if resolution could be made and the whole matter put to bed,” said Brown.
“David had represented me in a few cases and I was happy with the outcome. He had helped me, so I wanted to help him back.”
Brown denied he was to receive anything in return.
The advocate-depute, John Scullion, suggested: “Was the purpose of your meeting (that day) so he could pass drugs and mobile phones to you?”
Brown stated: “Certainly not.”
Mr Scullion asked about a text message a couple of days earlier from Blair Wilson to Brown in which he had said: “Please let me know when the money is in...look forward to confirmation.”
Brown said: “I had had David do a favour of drawing up a lease on a property for a friend. He was doing it for nothing. I wanted to give him something and told him I would give him a couple of hundred quid for doing it.”
He told the jury that his partner had paid the money into Blair Wilson’s account, after Blair Wilson had provided her with his bank details.
Mr Scullion said the payment had been in relation to an arrangement to bring drugs and phones into the prison. Brown stated: “Certainly not...that’s rubbish.”
The defence counsel, Frances McMenamin, QC, asked Brown if he had been the only prisoner in Saughton jail in October 2011 who had a mobile phone.
“No, there were loads of them, hundreds...the place was flooded with them,” he said.
Ms McMenamin revealed figures obtained from the Scottish Prison Service under a Freedom of Information request. Those showed that in 2010, 116 phones were seized in Saughton, and 87 in 2011. The totals throughout Scotland had been 743 in 2010 and 594 in 2011.
The trial continues.