View Full Version : Cases from today's sheriff court session

07-Nov-11, 17:00
Knifeman keeps his freedom after sheriff gives him an exceptional chance
A THURSO teenager, who had a knife in his hand at the scene of a street melee in the town, has narrowly escaped a custodial sentence.
However, Sheriff Andrew Berry made it clear to 16-year-old Dominic Long that he was making an exception in his case but warned him that stepping out of line again, would almost probably mean him losing his liberty.
Long previously admitted the offence which occurred in Holborn Avenue, Thurso, on October 24.
Wick Sheriff Court was told that the offence occurred during a confrontation between two factions engaged in fencing type of exchanges, using a variety of weapons such as a ladder, a crutch and a bedpost, watched by members of the public. The scene was compared by senior fiscal depute, David Barclay, as “a low-budget version of The Three Musketeers, involving the accused’s younger brother and a !7-year-old.
While the fight was in progress, Long was observed emerging from his home in Holborn Avenue, with a black-handled kitchen knife. However, he was intercepted by a public-spirited bystander who took the blade from him.
Long told the police that his intention had been only to scare the 17-year-old and that was underlined today by his solicitor, Neil Wilson, who went on to advise that the accused had yet to be sentenced for two unrelated offences, a breach of bail and the theft of a bicycle.
Mr Wilson stressed: “He had no intention of using the knife for any other reason than to scare the person who was assaulting his brother, but accepts that what he did, was wrong.”
The solicitor described the accused as “an immature young man” who had only started getting into trouble within the last two months.
Mr Wilson went on: “I do wonder whether we are in a position where the circumstances are sufficiently exceptional, to allow a non-custodial sentence.”
Sheriff Berry, who saw reports, told Long, appearing from custody, that he had to start thinking through the consequences of his actions.
The sheriff added: “It is very, very unusual that I would not send someone into custody for possession of a knife. You have just turned sixteen and it may well be that, having been on remand, you will have grasped that you simply can’t continue to behave like this.”
Long was ordered to carry out a 100 hours unpaid community service and the sheriff cautioned the accused about the need to carry out the work to the letter.
The sheriff warned: “I don’t want to hear any stories about you sleeping in and a relative didn’t wake you up. It is your responsibility...if you don’t comply with the order, you will be back here, and all options will be open”.
Sheriff Berry further deferred sentence on the bike theft until December 9 when he said he would expect to hear the unpaid work was going well, and would review matters in that light.
He told Long, who will be subject to a 7pm-7am curfew: “I want to hear only good things when you return to court”.


A KEISS man, who stole a boat and a trailer, will know his sentence on December 5 after the sheriff sees a background report.
Robert Blackwell (34) admitted the theft but had his not guilty pleas to wilfully setting the boat on fire, and stealing petrol from a Land Rover in Sutherland, accepted by senior fiscal depute, Mr Barclay.
The court was told that the overnight disappearance of the boat and trailer from Classvalley, Dunbeath, was discovered on June 22. The accused, who lives in Robertson Crescent, Keiss, had been seen in the area and some time later, the trailer was recovered. The boat, however, had been burned out.
Its engine was recovered and accounted for most of the value of the boat which was said to have been worth 1,500.
Mr Wilson, who will address the court on the background to the incident, after the sheriff sees reports, on December 5, said that Blackwell had turned his life around and it was possible that a non-custodial sentence could be considered.


THE sheriff said that an Edinburgh man seemed to be trying for a lifetime distinction of having appeared at every court in Scotland.
The accused, Norman McMillan, admitted kicking a door at Ormlie Lodge, on August 18 and causing a glass panel to break.
Sheriff Berry, reeled off 13 Scottish courts at which the accused had appeared and commented: “It looks as if you are trying to establish, at some point in your life, the fact that you have appeared at every sheriff court in Scotland.
McMillan (38) was said to have been under the influence of drink at the time of his latest offence and looking for someone who owed him money. He had caused the damage at Ormlie Lodge, after becoming frustrated when he couldn’t locate him.
The accused was fined 150 and ordered to pay 50 towards the cost of repairing the door.


THE court heard of Paul Crossley’s drastic remedy for his neighbour’s noisy television...he walked into his living room and removed the set!
Crossley (29) of 11B Ormlie Road, Thurso, admitted the “stupid” theft which occurred while he was drunk, on September 2, and was ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid community work.
The court was told that the accommodation at 13a Ormlie Road had been left insecure. Crossley told police that he had not taken the set for personal gain but to put a stop to the noise from it which was disturbing and his pregnant partner.
Solicitor Eilidh Macdonald said that the neighbour had been causing “all sorts of noise difficulties”, particularly from the t.v. but there would be no further problems as the accused and his partner had recently moved to Lord Thurso Court.
Sheriff Berry said entering someone’s property left the occupant with a “deep sense of insecurity”.