24th March 2019
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Unjust punishments (Cathy Feeny and Raymond ffoulkes)

We note that on Wednesday 20th March Sheriff Philip Mann fined an oil worker £300 for punching a woman in the head and ordered him to pay £250 in compensation.

On that same day he jailed a young man, in full employment and hoping to become a qualified chef, for one year, for supplying cannabis to friends on a non-commercial basis, declaring that it was his duty to send out a strong message to everyone involved in drug dealing.

It is hard to imagine why Philip Mann believes that wrecking a young person’s future is going to make the world a better place, especially given that any damage caused by recreational drugs is almost entirely a result of their illegality.

It is also difficult to fathom how he justifies handing out such a sentence for a crime which in other parts of the country might expect little more than a caution. Or – setting aside the fact that imprisonment tends to increase criminal activity rather than deter it – why he feels the need to send out a strong message about an arguably totally harmless act, and is under no such compunction when it comes to violence.

Greatly fond as we will always be of Shetland, the gross, unjust and heavy-handed behaviour of its police and judiciary was one of the main reasons that we felt compelled to leave the isles.

Cathy Feeny and Raymond ffoulkes

5 Nottingham Terrace




  1. ivan coghill

    Cathy Feeny and Raymond Foulkes – Thanks for your letter: well said and also something that needed to be said. If only you would be listened to. Ivan Coghill

  2. Donna Wolff

    Its about right for Shetland justice, the gas and oil industry have a hold over the Police and courts, the council and this newspaper, the crime that has hit Brae since the start of the Gas plant construction that strangley does not make the paper when they name and shame locals for petty crimes goes to show.

  3. Peg Young

    Penalties reveal a lot about the values held by society. Obviously, violence against women is not considered as serious as carrying a substance less noxious and harmful than alcohol. Nuts!

  4. Joe johnson

    Outrageous! A guy who assaults a woman does not get jailed, Yet he jails another guy on a minor offence which in most places he would get either a caution or a small fine. What message is the sheriff trying to send out? Violence against women is ok? outrageous! Justice my backside.

  5. ian tinkler

    Just typical, a small minded ignorant idiot passes sentence. Violence fine against women, fine. Offend an outdated and dangerous law , prison. What a reactionary prat, how and why do we find such fools in authority? Dr. Ian Tinkler rtd Surgeon Lt Cdr RNR,

  6. Robert Lowes

    “Just typical, a small minded ignorant idiot passes sentence.”

    Been re-reading your old postings again, Ian?

  7. Maurice J Smith

    Perhaps the views of some correspondents might change if they stood at the graveside of a young relative, whose ultimately fatal involvement with drugs began with that “harmless” substance — cannabis.

  8. Lyall Campbell

    the gateway drug theory has been disproven countless times, most people start smoking cigarettes or drinking alchohol first, and they are both addictive, but people never make a correlation between those things, if somebody dies due to drug misuse then they will probably already had an addictive nature, and if it wasn’t drugs that killed them it would probably be alchohol.

  9. george williamson

    the punishment for assault is far to light but somebody with a large criminal record who is still breaking the law after a previous time in jail caught drug dealing deserves to be punished

  10. ian tinkler

    Look to the Swiss. Take drug profits away from the criminals. Stop exploitation, prostitution and criminalisation of addicts. Treat do not persecute, HIV, Hepatitis master criminal and exploiters all will go. Otherwise try a quick score in Edinburgh; you will deserve exactly what you pick up!

  11. Andrew Simpson

    Too many assaults and violent crimes going on unreported in this town at the moment. It will come to a head very soon. Anyone who can say that the locals are ‘as bad’ are living in a dream world in my opinion.

    Robert Lowes! What exactly is the point of you’re childish comment?

  12. John Tulloch

    I try not to comment on this type of thing as we only get to know what is reported in the paper however given some of the sentences we see dished out these days, it’s little wonder the jails are overflowing.

    There are times when what passes, reportedly, not only for justice but also for “sense”, leaves me aghast.


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