Bail for man who struggled violently with police

A man who voiced his wish to renounce his British citizenship in court after offending at a doctor’s surgery has been allowed his liberty.

But John Harding, 39, of Leaside in Mossbank has been warned to co-operate with social workers or face the consequences.

Harding admitted assaulting, obstructing or hindering a GP at the Walls Health Centre on 23rd August when he appeared from custody before sheriff Philip Mann today.

He also admitted struggling violently with police.

Harding was remanded a week ago after he initially refused to confirm his name at Lerwick Sheriff Court and angrily declared his intention to renounce his British citizenship.

Today he pleaded guilty to the offence.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Harding had attended the health centre and asked the GP to phone the police on his behalf, as he felt he was going to harm his parents.

When officers attended there was a “violent struggle” before he was taken back to the police station.

“He has spent a week in custody. The reason for that was more his behaviour in court than anything else. He has maybe reflected on that and is behaving more sensibly today,” said Mr MacKenzie.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said ordering a social enquiry report may cause difficulties for Harding. He urged the sheriff to defer sentence for Harding to be of good behaviour.

He said Harding had already spent a week in custody during a period of “high anxiety”, and had been struggling to cope with his circumstances.

Mr MacKenzie did not oppose bail. But he said Harding needed to engage with social workers if reports were going to be called for.

Sheriff Mann insisted he was not prepared to defer sentence solely for good behaviour.

“This kind of offending I’m dealing with today is serious, particularly with the first charge. But, given what’s been said, I’m prepared today not to remand you in custody but to allow you bail on the basis that I will be calling for a social enquiry report to enable me to form a preliminary view on how you might be dealt with.

“If you don’t co-operate with your social worker that automatically means that you have breached bail. That could lead to further charges, and that alone could lead to a custodial sentence of up to 12 months.”

Asked if he was prepared to co-operate with social workers, Harding replied: “Yes, I’ll do it all over again. I’ve done so many social enquiry reports it doesn’t matter any more.”

Harding will appear in court again on 17th October.


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