Unpaid work for Smith after woman left ‘very shaken’

A man has been spared a prison sentence after he held a brick against a woman’s face and threatened to hit her.

Matthew Smith, 29, of Stanegarth in Lerwick, was instead ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work when he appeared in the dock yesterday.

He entered uninvited into a house in the town’s Bruce Crescent on 13th July, where the woman was sleeping on the living room sofa after a hen night.

The victim woke up shortly after 7am to find Smith in the room, wearing a hooded top, with his hand on her cheek.

He held a rock against her face and held her down on the sofa with his other hand. He warned her not to say anything and to hand her mobile phone to him. He took the phone and put it in his pocket.

She asked him why he was there and he replied, “It doesn’t matter, I’ll put this brick in your face.”

Smith’s victim tried to plead with him, that she did not know why he was there, but whatever the reason was it had nothing to do with her.

He said he did not want to hurt her, “but if I can’t find him, I will”. He named a lodger at the address, who was not in the house at the time.

The court heard Smith was “clearly under the influence”, and was stumbling around the room.
That gave the woman the opportunity to trip him up, and he fell against a coffee table. Other occupants in the house woke up and Smith was thrown out. The police were called and Smith was found nearby a short time later.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the incident had left the victim “very shaken”.

“The complainer was extremely frightened by this. The accused was wearing a hooded top he had pulled over his head. She had no idea what his intention was when woken by him. There were no physical injuries, but she was very shaken indeed.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan agreed Smith had displayed “atrocious behaviour”. Smith, he said, accepted that and did not try to “dress it up” in any way.

Smith has been someone with drink and drug problems, but Mr Allan said he had managed to turn that around.

He had found employment and was even sent to France for specialist training for the job.
The court was handed a reference which had been handed, unsolicited, from Smith’s employer to his mother.

Mr Allan added Smith was attending appointments with CADSS.

“He tells me that’s something he is finding useful,” said Mr Allan.

He urged sheriff Donald Ferguson to deal with the matter in such a way that would allow Smith to hold on to his job, and to keep making progress against substance misuse.

The sheriff ordered the community service be completed within 12 months. The hours are imposed as part of a community payback order, with a conduct requirement that Smith continues to receive counselling for alcohol abuse.

Sheriff Ferguson said: “This was an extremely serious and unpleasant offence, and arguably you should go to jail for a long period of time.”

Smith had initially been remanded after his first appearance, but was allowed his liberty when sentence was further deferred after background reports were presented to the court. The sheriff credited Smith for staying out of trouble while awaiting his sentence, and co-operating with the drugs and alcohol service. He added that showed “a different side” of Smith to the one who committed the offence.


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