HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY
OPINION OF THE COURT
THE HONOURABLE LORD PROSSER
APPEAL BY STATED CASE
GERALD WILLIAM AMBROSE
PROCURATOR FISCAL, AYR
26 January 1999
This appeal by stated case is brought by Gerald Ambrose, who stood trial in the Sheriff Court at Ayr on 4 July 1997 and was convicted of simple possession of cannabis resin. He was fined £250.
The sole point taken in the appeal relates to the items which were taken by the police, and the question of whether they are identical with the items which are dealt with in a forensic science report which was before the court and which is accepted to have been evidence as to the matters it contains. From that report it is apparent that what was being examined was an article with attached to it a production label. The label bore a specific number, and referred to the material having been in a motor vehicle which, according to the label, had been driven by someone bearing Mr Ambrose's name in King Street/Whitletts Road in Ayr. There was police evidence that that was indeed where they found the appellant driving a car.
The discrepancy which is founded upon is as to the registration number of the car. The police spoke to it having been a vehicle D102 OYS. The certificate refers to the label and says that the label describes the vehicle as D102 OJS.
In presenting the appeal Mr Shead accepted that when one was considering whether there was a sufficient link between items analysed and items spoken to by the police as having been in the possession of a particular accused the matter was one of circumstances. We were referred to the cases of Allan v Ingram 1995 S.C.C.R. 390 and Dryburgh v Scott 1995 S.C.C.R. 371. The case of Dryburgh deals with the question of whether a court can look at a label which has not been spoken to by the police and in this case that might be in point in relation to the identification number which was not spoken to by the police but which is given in the report as having been on the label. However, we do not find it necessary to refer to Dryburgh or to approach the matter in that way.
In this case the reference by the report to the appellant by name, the reference to King Street and Whitletts Road, and the reference to the vehicle with an only fractionally different number, all tying in with the police evidence, appears to us to be sufficient material for any court to decide that the link was sufficiently established.
In these circumstances the questions in the case are answered in the affirmative and the appeal is refused.