Fife drug dealer ordered to hand over more than £170,000 by court
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William Binnie,52, was supposed to attend on Thursday to argue that he shouldn’t have to hand cash over to prosecutors under proceeds of crime legislation. The repeat offender failed to turn up to the High Court in Edinburgh forcing crown lawyers to ask temporary judge Alistair Watson to order the crook to hand over £172,937.00.
The court heard that investigators established that Binnie, who has served two jail terms for drug dealing, made a total of £678,581.51 from his life of crime, but only has £172,937.00 in assets available at this point in time.
The court also heard how the proceeds of crime hearing was first raised five years ago but has been postponed on 20 previous occasions - mostly to help defence preparations.
On earlier occasions, the court heard how Binnie needed to postpone the case so he could visit an Apple Shop. He had a computer containing evidence which he said was crucial to the case.
The court heard that Binnie had forgotten his passcode and was hoping a Genius Bar technician could crack it for him.
The court also heard Binnie was in a “bad way” after suffering a stroke. He then sacked his legal team and decided to fight the action by himself - but told a judge that the pressure of the case was making him feel “suicidal”.
On Thursday, prosecutor Bryan Heaney moved the court to pass an order forcing Binnie to hand over the cash. He had known about this week’s hearing since the end of September 2023. Judge Watson agreed. He said: “In the absence of the accused, the court finds that the accused had a criminal lifestyle. The court finds that the benefit in the case to the accused was £678,581.51 and the amount available for recovery is £172,937.00. The court will allow six months for payment of the sum.”
Binnie was jailed in 2019 after he was caught with cocaine worth £1,750. He admitted being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug between August 2018 and January 2019 at Rising Sun Road, Buckhaven, and Main Street, West Wemyss. He previously served a nine-year sentence for trafficking in heroin which was imposed on him in September 2005. On that occasion, police caught him with drugs in Fife just days after he benefited from early release from an eight year term imposed in 1999 for assault and robbery.
At an earlier hearing in the proceeds action, defence advocate Duncan McPhie told judge Lord Fairley that Binnie was seriously ill.
He added: “Mr Binnie has suffered a stroke and his not yet well enough to allow me to consult with him. To put it short he’s in a bad way. He has sustained brain injury.”
In May 2021, lawyers for Binnie asked a court to put off a proceeds of crime action so that he could have an Apple computer broken into.
Binnie's counsel at that hearing told the court that he now hoped to recover information from the machine that would help his defence to the action. The counsel said they met Binnie last week at Perth prison and was told of the existence of the computer. Binnie said there was a large amount of evidence on the computer some of which related to items he had sold on Gumtree, including vehicles.
prosecutors can return to court if they discover more of Binnie’s fortune.