Heroin addict berates sheriff for ‘lenient’ sentence

A persistent offender who brandished a claw hammer hours after being released on bail berated the sheriff for imposing too lenient a sentence on him in court on Thursday.

Kieran Roberts, 22, of Ladies Drive, Lerwick, made abusive remarks about Sheriff Graeme Napier for imposing 16-month prison sentence when he appeared from custody.

Roberts had wanted to go to jail for two years, because he believed that would entitle him to be fast-tracked onto a methadone programme which could help combat his drug problems.

His appearance from custody came less than 24 hours after he told the same sheriff he would not let him down again.

On Wednesday he was released on bail after stealing an Up-Helly-A’ Viking dagger from the drug and alcohol centre in Lerwick.

The court heard it had a blunt 23 centimetre blade, but the tip was sharp and could cause serious injury.
Sheriff Napier said it did not seem the most sensible item to have on display at a drugs and alcohol centre.

He warned Roberts he could send him to jail for 12 months for possessing the weapon, but would allow him bail while reports are compiled and the chances of placing him on a drug treatment and testing order were assessed. Roberts told him: “I will not let you down this time, your honour.”

However Roberts appeared in the dock again yesterday after he was caught with the hammer at Rudda Court.
He brandished the weapon, uttered threats and committed a breach of the peace.

Roberts initially denied the charges, however he wanted assurances he could be assessed for a drug testing and treatment order while on remand.

The court heard that was not possible, and Roberts changed his plea to guilty, and asked for all outstanding cases to be dealt with in one go.

That meant as well as admitting having the claw hammer and the dagger, he also pleaded guilty to breaking into, or attempting to break into, a string of Lerwick properties on 22nd December last year.

He was discovered in one of the houses by a 66-year-old woman who was living there.

The court heard Roberts stole a lap-top computer from a house in Staney Hill and a bicycle, lawn strimmer and various tools from a shed in Bruce Crescent.

He stole a purse and CD from a car in Haldane Burgess Crescent, and made an attempt at getting into a North Road house with intent to steal.

The court heard the goods taken were of a “relatively high value”, with the lap-top alone worth £300. None of the items are expected to be recovered.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Roberts was a persistent offender.

“Clearly, in the very recent past, he’s had the benefit of a significant amount of good will from the court and from those in the criminal justice system, however he needs to take a degree of responsibility for himself and it would appear he’s not able to do that.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan said: “Mr Roberts is asking to be jailed for all of these offences, specifically for a period of two years at least, the reason being he thinks he will receive a methadone prescription sooner, and will be in a position to tackle heroin, which is controlling his life at the moment.

“I’m not instructed to tender any further mitigation in respect of these offences.”

Taking all offences into account, Sheriff Napier sentenced him to a total of 16 months.

However Roberts complained the sentence was not long enough to get him on the programme of methadone, and shouted abuse as he was led away from the dock.


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