View Full Version : Two jailed for separate offences at today's sheriff court sitting

24-Jun-11, 15:42
Court “cheesed off” with knife man’s excuse
A SHERIFF sent out a stern warning to people caught carrying knives in public and backed it up with a five-months sentence on a Thurso man.
Sheriff Andrew Berry again rejected what he described as “an absolutely incredible explanation “ put forward by Stephen Mackay, at his trial, at Wick Sheriff Court, last month.
Police on their way to investigate reported fight at a house in the town, on February 19 encountered Mackay in the Pennyland scheme carrying two large kitchen knives. He claimed he was returning to his home in Castlegreen Road, with the knives after having used them to cut cheese at the house, in Trostan Terrace, where the trouble had broken out. Mackay (28) handed the knives over to the police and was arrested.
He denied having been in possession of them in a public place but was found guilty after a trial.
Mackay said in evidence that he had been at a party in Trostan Terrace and had returned home with a woman. He then returned to the party in the early hours, felt peckish and went into the kitchen and dug out some spam and cheese. The accused said he found all the knives blunt and decided to make the short walk back home where he got two knives but was met by the police.
In his closing statement, senior fiscal depute, David Barclay described Mackay’s explanation has “beggaring belief” but solicitor Neil Wilson defended the defence, describing it as “a reasonable excuse”.
Sheriff Berry disagreed, and rejecting Mackay’s excuse for a second time, today said: “You had no good reason for having these knives. Possession of knives is a very serious matter and I have noted from the Appeal Court cases for many years, that only in exceptional circumstances is a prison sentence not appropriate. I don’t see that there are exceptional circumstances and I have reached the conclusion that a prison has to be imposed to bring home the gravity of the matter so that others will understand that this sort of behaviour cannot be allowed.”
The sheriff saw background reports on Mackay, a first offender, before sentencing him.

Man threatened to slash police officer

A THURSO man, who threatened a policeman about to arrest him, was jailed for six months.
The accused, Jason Reilly (24) was said to have told Detective Constable Stuart Fitzpatrick that he would “stick the head on him” and “slash” him.
The threats were made, after police traced Reilly to a house in Bremner’s Walk, Wick on September 5 last year. The charge had originally been part of an indictment on which Reilly had gone to trial before a jury, earlier in the week. The offence was deserted temporarily by senior fiscal depute, MrBarclay.
Solicitor Mr Wilson said that Reilly felt he was being detained for something he was innocent of but accepted that his behaviour was “wholly inappropriate”.
The accused had been working in a local hotel, but got laid off, and intended moving to Edinburgh to get employment. He was in a position to pay a fine but, given the serious nature of the charge was “prepared for the worst” so far as a sentence was concerned.
Sheriff Berry observed that Reilly had a history of bad behaviour towards the police and a “appalling record” and added that it was “wholly unacceptable” for him to offer serious violence to someone going about his business in protecting the public.

Phone thief’s excuse unconvincing

THE sheriff remained unconvinced about the explanation a teenager gave for lifting a mobile phone belonging to a solicitor, in the court precincts.
Martin Kirk said that the Blackberry phone was similar to one owned by his girlfriend who had been with him when he left the court, last month. It was stated that he panicked when he discovered his mistake, and tried to cover it up by retaining it and deleting all the numbers.
Kirk, of Gothigill Farm, Murkle, admitted a charge of theft by finding, and was order to carry out 40 hours work under the community pay-back scheme.
It was stated, previously, that the solicitor, Jo MacDonald, had set her Blackberry phone down while conferring with a client outside the court chambers. She missed it at the close of business and inquiries by police identified Kirk as the culprit, in internal CCTV footage. The 19-year-old accused was traced and handed over the phone.
Senior fiscal depute, Mr Barclay, who had been asked to check out Kirk’s story, described by Sheriff Berry as “highly unlikely”, reported that the accused’s girlfriend did own a similar phone and the accused had assumed that she had left it on the stairwell of the court building.
Solicitor Neil Wilson said that, initially, Kirk had made “an innocent mistake” but compounded matters by trying to cover his tracks, instead of handing the phone over.
Mr Wilson added: “He made an awkward situation far worse”. The value of the phone was not only in its cost but in the contact numbers which had been lost. Mr Wilson appealed to the sheriff to impose a penalty which would enable Kirk to go home to his girlfriend and their baby daughter who had been born last night.
Sheriff Berry said: “I would make it clear that I have very serious reservations about some of the information I have received in this case. It seems extraordinary that you pick up what you thought was your girlfriend’s phone and you then both left the court. At that stage, did you not say to her ‘here is your phone’ and not realise there were important details on it. Then you should have taken it to the court’s police officer and simply handed it over”.
The sheriff said he hoped the sentence would bring home to Kirk, a first offender, the “huge inconvenience” he had caused a professional person and warned him that such behaviour would not be accepted from him, should there be a future occasion.