Garry O’Connor fined over cocaine possession

FORMER Hibs and Scotland striker Garry O’Connor has been fined £300 after pleading guilty to being found in possession of cocaine.

Garry O'Connor was arrested hours after watching former club Hibs defeat Hearts in a Scottish Cup tie. Picture: Greg Macvean

The 30-year old from Longniddry in East Lothian, was due to stand trial next month on charges of possession of the Class A drug and to attempting to pervert the course of justice by allegedly giving police officers a wrong address on December 2 last year.

At an Intermediate Diet today at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, defence solicitor Andy Phillips told Sheriff Frank Crowe that his client was pleading guilty to the cocaine charge, but not guilty to the second charge.

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These pleas were accepted by the prosecution.

Fiscal Depute, Alison Innes, said police officers had been called to Leith Walk “on another matter” about 10pm on the Sunday night when they saw two men walking away. “One officer saw the accused (O’Connor) with a bag of white powder in his hand” she said.

This later proved to be 0.03 grams of cocaine.

The arrest came on the same night as the footballer’s former team, Hibs, had beaten city rivals, Hearts, 1-0 in a Scottish Cup tie at Easter Road Stadium.

Sheriff Crowe commented that it had been a very small amount of the drug and Mr Phillips said the value was only a few pounds. O’Connor had left the Edinburgh club to join the Russian side, Tom Tomsk, but that was now over and O’Connor was without a club and had been unemployed for nine months. He was married with a young family.

His client, Mr Phillips added, was unsure as to how the drug came to be in his possession.

Sheriff Crowe asked: “Is he interested in coaching or something like that?”

Mr Phillips replied: “He has had some approaches” and added that his client “has come to his senses”.

The Sheriff told O’Connor that if the case had gone to trial and he had been found guilty the fine would have been £400, but he reduced that to £300 because of the plea at the earlier stage.

O’Connor was given until October 23 to pay the fine.