View Full Version : Accused avoids jail

27-Jun-13, 08:56
Out-on-licence prisoner committed an assault the court at Wick is told
A FATHER released on licence on a gun crime, escaped being sent back to jail with an additional term, yesterday.
John Begg, committed an assault while free, but was given a chance by a sheriff to turn his life around.
Begg was sentenced to 26 months, in June, 2011, after he admitted on indictment having threatened his then partner, Sarai Munro, with an air pistol at their home in Murchison Street, Wick.
He brandished the gun at her and warned her that if she tried to cut him off from his son, he would shoot her.
Begg, 23, was released in April, last year with eight months of his sentence still unserved. However, a few months later, on September 13 he assaulted Stephen Walls, at a house in Macrae Street, Wick, by head-butting him. Begg, denied the assault but was found guilty after a trial.
When he appeared for sentence, at Wick Sheriff Court, yesterday, his solicitor, Neil Wilson, appealed for a non-custodial outcome, arguing that the accused was trying to put his difficulties with bad behaviour and drug-taking behind him and had plans for the future
Sheriff Andrew Berry, who saw a background report on Begg, now living at 37 Macrae Street, Wick, commented that there appeared to be another side to his personality which might help break his repetitive offending.
The sheriff conceded that when he reviewed the papers in Begg’s case the previous day, a substantial prison sentence in addition to applying the outstanding term on the gun offence, was almost a sentencing certainty but was persuaded to give him a chance.
Ordering the accused to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community, the sheriff warned, however: “I am not in the habit of threatening or bullying anyone but I want to be quite clear that if you don’t comply with the order, and avail yourself of any assistance for anger management and drug and alcohol counselling, the custodial sentence would remain as an alternative.”
The pistol incident occurred after Begg and Ms Munro got together again after a split. The accused was with her and their young son at their Murchison Street home, on March 12.
Begg had been given access to the youngster, again. During the evening, his behaviour became “volatile” and he gave his partner an ultimatum. He produced the gun, demonstrated how it worked, brandished it in front of Ms Munro, and warned her that if she ever refused him access to the child, or took him away from him, he would shoot her.
It was stated that she had limited knowledge of guns and had little conception about what the weapon could do. The incident was described as “quite a frightening experience for her”.
Sheriff Berry described the incident, at the time, and the “chilling comments” made by the accused as “a horrifying experience” for Ms Munro. He told Begg: “You were in a position where you might have used the gun”.