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