16th August 2018
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Attempt made to influence sheriff’s decision in Yell assault case

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Sentence on a Yell man who knocked his victim unconscious with a single blow to the head has been delayed after an attempt was made to influence the sheriff’s ruling.

Euan Henderson, 33, of Gloup, Cullivoe, was due to be sentenced today at Lerwick Sheriff Court after he admitted causing his assault victim severe injury and permanent impairment. Henderson launched the attack as his victim tried to drive away in a van.

Sentence was previously deferred for background reports when sheriff Philip Mann had warned Henderson he could be facing a custodial sentence.

But in court today the sheriff said he had received correspondence from someone who had tried to influence the outcome of the case.

He described the communication as “inappropriate” and “reprehensible”, adding that the end result was that Henderson’s sentence would have to be delayed a further two weeks while another sheriff was called to deal with the case. Only that way could the court be seen to be free from any outside influence.

“Not only must justice be done, but it must also be seen to be done,” sheriff Mann told Henderson. “I can’t afford for there to be any suggestion that I have been influenced by the person who sent the communication.

“I’ve got no option but to defer sentence on you again so that another sheriff can be arranged to the island to deal with the matter, no doubt at great cost to the criminal justice system.”

The court previously heard that Henderson saw “red mist” when he was at a social gathering after a niggling dislike developed between him and his victim.

The man climbed into his van and tried to drive away. But before he could leave Henderson dragged him out of the vehicle and carried out the attack.

Witnesses said the driver had appeared to be unconscious before he reached the ground, as he did not attempt to break his fall. He remained unconscious for around 10 minutes after the assault.

The man was taken to hospital the next day, where he went through a number of CT scans. There is a risk he will develop epilepsy, possible memory issues and a speech impediment.

Henderson will appear again for sentence on 13th June.

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