South Scotland

Galashiels man who bought teenager alcohol avoids jail

Selkirk Sheriff Court
Image caption The court heard Henry had been "more sinned against than sinning"

A man who admitted endangering a boy's life by buying him a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey has avoided jail.

Doctors at Borders General Hospital said the 14-year-old was one of the most serious cases of child intoxication they had ever seen.

Reuben Henry, 40, admitted culpably and recklessly supplying the teenager with alcohol in Galashiels in August.

A sheriff said Henry "had been taken advantage of" and imposed an 18-month community payback order.

Selkirk Sheriff Court had previously heard the teenager had been lucky to live after being found lying unconscious in a park in Galashiels.

Tests revealed he was more than three-and-a-half times the legal alcohol limit for driving and the hospital's intensive care unit had been put on standby.

Henry, formerly of St Andrew Street, Galashiels, also admitted buying alcohol on behalf of another young person in July and breaching bail conditions to purchase alcohol for under-age persons the following month.

However, the court was told there were extenuating circumstances in the case.

It heard how Henry, a first offender and a vulnerable adult with psychological issues, had become an easy target for local youths with his property used as a drinking den.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond said the offence would "commonly" result in a prison term but opted for a payback order instead.

"Providing alcohol to young people, one of whom whose life was in danger, is a serious offence," he said.

"But it is clear that it appears you were more sinned against than sinning.

"You have been taken advantage of by a group of people."

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