A MAN who groped a woman on a night out was placed on the sex offender’s register when he appeared from custody on Tuesday.
Lerwick Sheriff Court heard that Sean Elphinstone, 23, could have avoided his arrest if he had apologised to his victim at the time of the offence.
Instead, the bar worker, of the town’s Goodlad Crescent, drunkenly told her he had nothing to apologise for.
On hearing police were looking for him the following day, he drove his car to the police station to help with their enquiries. But he did not realise he still had alcohol in his system from the night before, and was done for drink driving as well.
The incident started when Elphinstone was drinking at Da Wheel Bar in Lerwick on Sunday night. He fell onto a woman’s lap while attempting to dance. But as she tried to push him away he began staring at her chest, before groping her.
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Elphinstone refused to apologise, despite the complainer being “furious” about what he had done. “That argument about an apology continued out on the street,” said Mr Mackenzie.
“The complainer’s friend took a photograph of the accused with a mobile phone for identification purposes and went to the police station.”
He added that Elphinstone’s victim had been “very upset” by what happened, and once at the police station suffered a panic attack.
That in turn led to an asthma attack, and she lost consciousness several times before being taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital for treatment.
“There is concern about his behaviour towards women and what he does to achieve sexual gratification.”
After Elphinstone drove to the police station on Monday, it became clear he had been drinking alcohol.
He admitted driving in Lerwick with 55 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, exceeding the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said Elphinstone had not set out to assault his victim. “It does not appear to be something planned or premeditated, but simply a spur of the moment reaction,” he said.
“I have to say that had Mr Elphinstone apologised at that time, perhaps he wouldn’t be in the situation that he is in, and perhaps the complainer could have avoided the stress of coming to the police station.”
He added Elphinstone was “not a stupid man” and was aware there was a connection between his drinking habits and his offending.
Mr Allan stressed that Elphinstone had not had a drink before getting behind the wheel of his car, and that it was the alcohol left in his system from the night before which was the cause of his drink driving offence.
Placing him on the sex offender’s register, Sheriff Graeme Napier deferred sentence until 8th October for reports.
Disqualifying him from driving in the meantime, he released Elphinstone on bail, but warned him not to enter any licensed premises – apart from the Royal British Legion, where he works.