12th December 2017

Christmas behind bars for man who had knife

, by , in Headlines, News, ST Online

A man who had a knife in public will be spending Christmas behind bars after he was handed a 12-month prison term at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

But Trevor Couper, of Hoofields in the town is likely to be out by the end of January, because he has been on remand since the summer.

The 24-year-old will be supervised for six months after his release and will have to comply with any suggestions for treatment or testing relating to drug or alcohol issues.

Couper previously admitted having a kitchen knife in Hoofields on 12th July without reasonable care or excuse, or lawful authority.

Sentence had been deferred for reports after the court heard Couper had the knife to defend himself and was carrying it when he left his home looking for help.

He had found himself outnumbered which led to him fleeing his home and running to a neighbour’s house, taking the knife with him.

Sheriff Philip Mann today warned Couper’s defence agent, Tommy Allan, that he saw little alternative but to impose a prison sentence.

“The substantial difficulty I have is there are really no alternatives shining out from the report,” the sheriff said.

However, Mr Allan said Couper had been coming off his drug dependency and was motivated to stop offending.

He added Couper had been in custody since 14th July.

“He has spent a considerable amount of time in custody,” Mr Allan said, adding that when clean and sober Couper was a “sharp, intelligent young man”.

He said Couper had suffered a set back when, through not fault of his own, his apprenticeship fell through. But he said Couper had since “been removed from the scene” and had been able to reduce his methadone prescription.

The court also heard Couper would be willing to undertake rehab, despite initially thinking it was not right for him.

“He is motivated. He is clean. His methadone prescription is at quite a low level,” said Mr Allan.

“The time he has spent in custody has had some affect on him. As he said to me this morning, he’s fed up with this and would like to make a change.”

Sheriff Mann told Couper: “I did say I would actively look at alternatives to a custodial sentence, but I’m finding it difficult to see anything shining out from the criminal justice social work report to suggest you would be suitable for a community-based disposal at this time.

“It may well be if you come out of custody and put your mind to it you might persuade the court a community-based disposal would be appropriate, but without any support in place there’s a very high chance you’ll go back to your old ways. With the festive period approaching, that’s a very risky time for you.”

Sending him down, Sheriff Mann backdated the sentence to 14th July, meaning he would be released “around about January next year”.

Couper previously admitted charges including shouting, swearing, throwing a glass and making threats at The Lounge bar on Mounthooly Street, Lerwick, and the Market Cross on 30th June and obstructing or hindering police on at the Market Cross on the same date.

Couper pleaded guilty to assaulting a man at an address in Sandveien on 7th February by seizing him, punching him and repeatedly attempting to stab him on the body with a fork.

Sentence on those charges was deferred for nine months to enable Couper to show he could be of good behaviour.