A repeat offender who carried out a string of crimes and repeatedly breached his bail orders was spared custody today after enduring a “miserable” time on remand.
Shaun Smith, 17, of Ladies Drive in Lerwick, was instead ordered to do 230 hours of unpaid work and wear a tag by sheriff Graeme Napier.
Smith got into trouble in March when he went to the Shetland Bike Project and threatened to set his dog on a man and kick his door in. Then in April he was found with cannabis resin in King Harald Street.
He also previously admitted letting his pit bull terrier dog go dangerously out of control at an address in Lerwick’s Cheyne Crescent in July. The dog went into a garden and bit a man and another dog, injuring both.
That same month he failed to keep his dog, which has since been destroyed, muzzled or on a lead. The following day he fled from police and locked himself in a room.
In September he was remanded in custody after pushing an ex-girlfriend down a flight of stairs. He later appealed against sheriff Philip Mann’s decision to deny his freedom and was released on bail on the understanding he abide by a curfew. But he broke the terms of that when he sent offensive text messages and was taken back to prison until today’s date.
Appearing this time before sheriff Napier, Smith was also told to abide by a three-month night-time curfew at weekends, and was banned from keeping a dog for five years. He was also told to pay a £200 fine for repeatedly breaching court orders.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said his time in remand had been a severe wake up call for Smith. He pointed to a social inquiry report which said Smith had had a miserable time in prison, had been bullied and had realised he was more vulnerable than he had previously appreciated.
He said Smith had been “genuinely frightened” and had served the equivalent of a two-month prison sentence.
Mr Allan added that Smith was now facing up to his responsibilities and was less willing than before to blame his antics on other people. “He’s adamant prison life is not for him and he’s determined not to go back there.”
Sheriff Napier noted that Smith had engaged with services while in prison which could help him. “These are not services that are unavailable in the community, but perhaps his mind has been focused during his incarceration,” he said.
He laid bare the “mythology” that the court had ordered the dog’s destruction. The court had nothing to do with the animal being put down.
The sheriff told Smith: “I’m taking a chance on you. I’m going to allow you to serve your sentence in the community, and you know what will happen if you don’t do it.”