Probation for ‘arrogant’ boatman

TAKING a boat out across the busy Bressay Sound at night without any lights to guide him or warn other vessels of his presence earned an “arrogant” Lerwick man a 12-month probation order when he appeared at the town’s sheriff court.

Craig Sandison, 21, of Cheyne Crescent, was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of community service when he stood before sheriff James Hendry on Wednesday.

Sandison had previously admitted piloting an inflatable boat between Bressay Pier and Victoria Pier on 22 August with 61 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, exceeding the legal limit of 35 microgrammes of alcohol.

He also pleaded guilty to culpably and recklessly navigating the boat during the hours of darkness without navigational lights or life jackets, all in close proximity to other maritime traffic. Sentence had been deferred until Wednesday’s date for reports to be compiled.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Sandison’s past record was of “particular concern”, given he had a previous conviction for culpable and reckless conduct in exactly the same circumstances.

“The problem with the accused is he is a particularly arrogant individual who seems to feel he has the ability and knowledge and wherewithal to do whatever he wishes with his little boat.”

The court heard Sandison’s social enquiry report had been positive, and that he was successfully holding down a job.

Sheriff Hendry said the “core issue” for Sandison was his alcohol consumption, which needed to be addressed.

“It seems to me drink is your undoing. If some sort of accident had happened goodness knows the difficulties that would then have ensued, with people trying to rescue you.”

In a separate hearing David Robertson, also 21, of Port Arthur in Scalloway, was fined £800 for steering a small pleasure boat at Scalloway Harbour with 94 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

Robertson pleaded guilty by letter to carrying out the offence on 14th August. The court heard concerned members of the public had seen Robertson in his craft drunk, shouting and singing.

He had trouble in the boat and required assistance getting back to shore.  When he got there, he found the police waiting for him at the harbour.

Sheriff Hendry said Robertson could have been facing a fine of £1,200 for the offence, but he restricted it because of his early plea.


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