30th September 2016
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Trial cancelled after man admits threatening with hammer

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A man who admitted breach of the peace by brandishing a hammer while behaving in a threatening and abusive manner has had his sentence deferred for a social work report.

Adam Nelson, 27, was due to stand trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court today but instead pleaded guilty to the offence, which took place in February.

Nelson, whose address was given at a previous hearing as Undirhoul, Scalloway, pulled out a hammer from his trousers as he stood beside a “vulnerable” man at the bus stop at the end of King Harald Street in Lerwick.

The complainer became so alarmed that he flagged down a bus and told the driver what had happened. She stopped the bus further on and phoned the police.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said: “This was a truly upsetting incident for the man involved. He was simply standing at the bus stop minding his own business.”

The 58-year-old complainer, who had obvious mobility problems, had felt intimidated by Nelson who seemed “under the influence”. He tried to talk to him but got no response.

When Nelson reached into his trousers and produced the hammer and raised it to shoulder height, the witness became “obviously terrified”, Mr MacKenzie said.

When police tracked down Nelson he told them a “pack of lies”, saying that he had not been at the bus stop and was not carrying a hammer.

But enquiries revealed that Nelson had already been very angry when he came into town by service bus and had come armed with the hammer.

Mr MacKenzie accepted that Nelson’s anger was not directed at the complainer, but that was of little consolation.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Nelson had not taken the hammer into town but had merely picked it up to do some DIY back at his sister’s house where he was presently staying.

Nelson did not know the complainer and would not even recognise him, Mr Allan added. Instead his anger had been directed at a once close friend who had sent him some deeply offensive texts, some concerning his mother, who had died when Nelson and his sister were both at a young age.

The accused had been shouting and swearing at that individual via a mobile phone mouthpiece and it was during the course of that row that he started brandishing the hammer, Mr Allan said.

Nelson, a frequent visitor to the court, was now getting counselling for substance misuse and bereavement, the court heard, and had begun to turn around his behaviour and attitude.

Sheriff Philip Mann said that it would be unfair to send Nelson back into custody as he had been five weeks on remand following the incident, and had not been in trouble since being released on bail.

He said that custody was still an option but that he was also considering compensation instead. The sheriff deferred sentence for a report on 27th April.