Centralisation of indictment case "seriously unimpressive" says sheriff

A NORTH sheriff has again complained about the delay in bringing serious cases to court at Wick.
Sheriff Andrew Berry today described a year-long delay in the case of two men charged with assault, combined with a technical aggravation, with video evidence as "seriously unimpressive".
In the dock were Scott Webster,19, of Lower Reiss Farm, near Wick, and 21-year-old Ross Bremner, of Myrelandhorn, Kirk, near Reiss. They deny on indictment assaulting Luke Sawyer, in Wick, by pulling him, whereby he fell to the ground and repeatedly punching and kicking him on the head and body to his severe injury.
Sheriff Berry has previously criticised the present system whereby solemn cases, as they are termed, are processed by Crown Office in Dundee as opposed .
The sheriff, addressing fiscal Daved Barclay, yesterday said: "I take it, this is another case where in terms of modern practice you don't prepare the case at all."
Mr Barclay confirmed this and informed him that after the two accused had appeared at the Wick court on June 30, last year, the matter had been referred to Crown Office, "in the normal way".
Footage of the alleged assault said to have occurred in Union Street and Bridge Street, Wick on May 5, 2013 was also sent south, but transferring the CCTV material onto a DvD compatible with the Wick court's system had not been successful. The court was told yesterday that further attempts were being made at local level to solve the problem.
The sheriff commented: "Ironically, we could go outside the front of the court and see Bridge Street. There is also a painting gifted to the court some years ago of both Union Street and Bridge Street.
Sheriff Berry spoke out in March of this year when he expressed his concern at "the wholly inappropriate progress" in the preparation of indictable cases, since the handling of them was taken out of local hands.
Solicitor George Mathers commented then that the centralised system appeared to be general, so far as cases in the north and north-east courts were concerned and it had proved "much less efficient" than the previous set up. It also meant that accused had their cases hanging over them for longer.

Admits lamps reset

TILLY lamps which disappeared from a Wick garage, turned up for sale in a local shop.
Police later discovered that Gary Robertson, 30, had sold them to the shopkeeper for 110.
The accused, of 12 Kennedy Terrace, Wick, admitted resetting the 10 lamps between November 29, 2013, and February 26, 2014. He will be sentenced on Friday.

Shattered ex-partner's window

A WICK man kept knocking on the living room of his former partner's house to such an extent that it broke.
Aaron Edwards, 27, admitted damaging the window and will be sentenced next month. The incident occurred at 10 Baron's Well, Wick on February 15.
The court heard Edwards, of 11 Vansittart Street, Wick, wanted to gain access to the home to reassure himself that his two children were okay as he was under the impression that there was a party ongoing there.
Edwards, who works for the Maratime Coastguard Agency, had persisted knocking on the window because he thought he was being ignored, it was stated. He cut himself when the pane shattered.
Sentence was deferred until June 12 when Sheriff Berry will see a background report.

Denies serious assault

A YOUNG man is to stand trial accused of a serious assault.
Mark Aitken, 22, is alleged to have punched Terence Boyd, causing him to fall to the ground, striking his head and rendering him unconscious.
The incident is said to have occurred in Princes Street, Thurso, on June 15, last year.
Aitken, of 8 Moray View Avenue, Staxigoe, near Wick, pleaded not guilty, on indictment, at and will return for his trial on June 9.

Drugs supply alleged

A THURSO man is contesting an allegation that he was involved in the supply of cannabis resin.
Jamie Lewis, 26, pleaded not guilty on indictment, at Wick Sheriff Court yesterday.
The charge alleges that he committed the offence in a house in Bank Street, Thurso, and elsewhere in the county, between July 1 and October 16, 2012.
Lewis, of 2 Riverside Terrace, Thurso, will stand trial on June 9.
















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