Fresh start for accused after incidents

A SYMPATHETIC sheriff gave a fledgling gamekeeper a chance to pick up the piece of his life shattered by drunken incidents.
Perthshire teenager Dwayne Dow lost his gun licence and his estate job following the incident at two Highland hospital where he abused and threatened staff and police.
Sheriff Andrew Berry initially deferred sentence on the 19-year-old trainee keeper to allow him to prove it was a one-off lapse, by demonstrating he could behave himself, but changed his mind and took the exceptional step of wiping out the conviction by giving the accused an absolute discharge.
The first incident, Wick Sheriff Court heard yesterday, occurred at the Dunbar Hospital in Thurso, after Dow, of Westwing, Pitnacrea House, Balinluig, Pitlochry, returned north to pursue his studies at Thurso College. He had been drinking with friends on the way north, Wick Sheriff Court heard, yesterday.
Dow,19, was taken to the hospital, on October 28, last year, because of concern about his intoxicated state and to ascertain there were no other medical issues.
He appeared to be compliant with staff at first, but after wakening from a dose, he “came to life” and "began acting in an erratic manner".
David Barclay, prosecuting, said that Dow began to shout and swear and uttering threats to hospital staff and the police, the use of the f-word punctuating the tirade during which he said he was going to kill them all.
Dow was taken to Wick in an ambulance but while on his way to Caithness General Hospital where he continued to misbehave and attempted to bite one of the police officers.
Mr Barclay said: “ It took a number of them to ensure the behaviour didn’t escalate.”
Dow subsequently told the police that he had consumed a number of cans of cider throughout the day. “It is clear that intoxication was the root cause of his behaviour” added the fiscal depute.
Solicitor Eilidh MacDonald outlined the consequences that followed the incident, saying that the accused had lost his job as a direct result and was not eligible to hold a gun licence. Dow had been drinking with friends on his rail trip north and had more alcohol at a house party.
Ms MacDonald added: “He can’t remember anything after about the way he behaved towards hospital staff and the police, but accepts that he did.”
She continued: “He always wanted to work as a gamekeeper and there is a slender possibility that, at some point in the future he might get his gun licence back but he is not at present able to work in his chosen in his chosen line at the moment. He is hugely embarrassed at appearing in court for an incident that is completely out of character.”
Sheriff Berry said that this was borne out in a letter from someone whose judgement could be trusted and commented, however, that such behaviour towards people in public service could simply not be tolerated.
But, after deferring sentence on Dow until May 16, the sheriff recalled the case and said he was conscious of the life-changing consequences of his conduct although it had been “far from trivial”.
Ms MacDonald made an appeal for an absolute discharge so that Dow’s future prospects would not be “prejudiced”.
Sheriff Berry said he was prepared to take the “exceptional step” and give Dow a “golden opportunity” to get his life back on the rails, on the basis that nothing like a repeat of the behaviour would ever happen again.
The absolute discharge means that Dow does not have a record.