View Full Version : Bail breach accused says partner needs him

24-Nov-11, 21:12
Sheriff requests proof of medical condition before sentencing on "very serious" matter

A SHERIFF was asked to consider a non-custodial sentence for a man who twice breached the same bail order but was said to be needed as a help to his partner, recently said to have been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis.
However, Sheriff Andrew Berry said that as the situation would have a bearing on the sentence he would impose on a “very serious” offence, he would require tangible proof of the medical condition.
The accused, Michael Kerry admitted breaching a bail order, imposed earlier this year, after he pleaded guilty to behaving in an abusive or threatening manner towards his partner, Angela Longstaff, at a house in Bon Accord Street, Wick, on August 17. Sentence was deferred to allow Kerry (46) to demonstrate he could behave, but he breached a condition banning him from contacting or approaching Ms Longstaff and was jailed for four months.
After being released, he returned to her home and the second breach of bail was discovered, during a police check, Wick Sheriff Court was told today.
The medical factor was explained by solicitor Neil Wilson who said that it had been Ms Longstaff who had contacted Kerry informing him of her recent diagnosed chronic bronchitis, and asking him to come round and help her with the daily domestic chores. Mr Wilson said that the accused should have gone through the proper court channels to try to get the terms of his bail altered. The solicitor suggested that probation might be an option for the sheriff to consider.
However, Sheriff Berry made the point that Kerry had breached the same bail condition twice, while on a good behaviour bond. He added: “I regard the second breach of the order as a very serious act" and told Kerry:" Four months in prison made no difference to your attitude towards the orders of a court.”
The sheriff said that he appreciated that Mr Wilson was acting in good faith but delayed sentencing to allow the solicitor to check the veracity of the medical claim.
Mr Wilson duly reported, later today, that he had spoken to Ms Longstaff and she had confirmed her condition, diagnosed a month or two back. The accused had returned, at her request to look after her.
However, Sheriff Berry said that he required further proof and told Mr Wilson: “He has twice failed to do a very simply thing ...an order by the court not to contact his partner and was recently sentenced to four months. Shortly after that, he does precisely the very same thing.”
Continuing the case further, until tomorrow, for evidence of Ms Longstaff’s condition, the sheriff addressing Mr Wilson, added: “You understand my concern. If what the accused says is true, it could have a significant effect on the sentence.”