Teen avoids T in the Park ecstasy charge with essay

A teenager has escaped a conviction for ecstasy possession after writing an essay on the orders of a sheriff on the misuse of drugs. Picture: PA
A teenager has escaped a conviction for ecstasy possession after writing an essay on the orders of a sheriff on the misuse of drugs. Picture: PA
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A SCHOOLBOY caught with Ecstasy at T in the Park has been left without a criminal record after writing a 500-word essay about drugs for a sheriff.

Aaron Bertram, 17, was granted an absolute discharge after being ordered to write an essay with the title: “The Perils of Drug Misuse for 16-21-year-olds in the 21st Century.”

This was a very stupid thing to have done

Sheriff William Wood

Sheriff William Wood initially gave the teenager the unusual project after he admitted having drugs at the music festival last summer.

Yesterday, Sheriff Wood told Bertram, who hopes to study business management, that he was satisfied with the effort and time he had spent preparing his essay for the court.

“I have given considerable though to your particular circumstances,” the sheriff said. “I deferred sentence and asked you to write an essay in the hope it would bring to your attention the dangers of these illicit substances and misusing drugs in any shape or form.

“I hope it has had that effect. You don’t have to be on drugs to have fun. In the particular circumstances what I am going to do is grant you an absolute discharge which means you won’t have a conviction.

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“This is a lifeline for you, because otherwise you would have to disclose this to any potential employer. Don’t let me down. I don’t want to see you back in court. Good luck in the future.”

The sheriff had told the sixth year pupil six months earlier: “You are on the cusp of the rest of your life and this was a very stupid thing to have done. It no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time.

“I want you to provide an essay of 500 words, which isn’t too long. The title is the Perils of Drugs Misuse for 16-21-year-olds in the 21st century. I don’t want it to be a lecture on the law. I want to know about the impact it has on you and those like you. I hope you do well in your exams in the meantime.” The court was told that Bertram had completed school and was awaiting his exam results to find out whether he would be able to take up a business course at college.

Bertram, of Giffnock, admitted two charges of having Ecstasy and Class B Methylethcathinone at T in the Park on 10 July last year.

Fiscal depute Lisa Marshall had told Perth Sheriff Court: “One tablet of the Ecstasy drug was found in his possession with a potential value of ten pounds. There was 0.14 grams of the Class B drug worth about one pound.”

Solicitor Paul Ralph, defending, said: “He is 17 and due to leave school in the summer and go on to tertiary education. Now he has given himself a huge headache.”

Sheriff Wood said: “A conviction would seem to blight a young man with prospects, particularly given the quantities of the drugs in his possession.”

The Class B drug Bertram was caught with is commonly known as Meow Meow or M-Cat and is known for its stimulant and psychedelic properties.