17th November 2018
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‘This is not the wild west’ sheriff warns scaffolders

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Scaffolders from out of town have been warned Shetland is “not the wild west” after they each caused offence at a Lerwick pub.

Neil Barr, 33, of Aspen Place in South Shields, South Tyneside, was fined a total of £1,800 by the sheriff when he admitted shouting, swearing, behaving aggressively at the Lounge Bar and threatening a female member of staff on 27th June.

He stripped himself and walked around the bar naked during the incident, which took place shortly before 6pm on a Saturday night, and later resisted police in Law Lane, struggling with them.

Co-accused Lee Donnelly, 40, from Lune Green in Jarrow, South Tyneside, was also given hefty fines totalling £960. He admitted threatening a staff member, resisting police and attempting to release Barr from lawful custody, as well as acting aggressively.

A third accused, Michael Ward, 33, of Pontefract, in West Yorkshire, also admitted playing his part in trying to release Barr. He was fined £360 after he also admitted the breach of the peace charge.

The trio had been ordered to leave the isles within 12 hours following their initial court appearance in July, and were under orders not to come back unless to attend court.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the offence had been “an appalling incident”.

Things turned sour soon after the men had gone into the pub. Barr became impatient while waiting to be served and shouted at the female staff member, who was working on her own.

“She was serving other customers but was deciding in her mind whether to serve him because of his drunken state,” the fiscal told the court.

Another drinker told Barr to calm down, but he became aggressive and started shouting and swearing.

Soon Donnelly was joining in – becoming aggressive, and shouting at the bartender.

Mr MacKenzie said the barmaid was used to “robust language and behaviour”, but the comments directed at her left her feeling “justifiably fearful for her safety”.

The court heard the atmosphere in the pub became tense, with a number of patrons putting their drinks down on the tables.

But the men left, and were spotted by another pub worker – outside having a smoke – behaving aggressively towards passers by. At one point, Barr dropped his trousers and exposed himself to others who were in the area.

Soon after the door of the pub “swung open violently”, and an unwelcome Barr walked back in, this time completely naked.

“He walked around the pub asking other patrons if they’d like a drink,” said Mr MacKenzie.
Another patron told Barr he would lose his job and be arrested if he did not behave himself. But Barr replied: “I don’t give a fuck”, before walking out of the bar.

“Nobody should be subjected to this sort of thuggish behaviour,” the fiscal added.

The police were contacted and approached Barr and Donnelly. But when Barr was told he was under arrest, he became aggressive – pulling away from them, raising his arms up and telling them to “fuck off”.

“There were three police officers and it took some effort from them to control Barr,” Mr MacKenzie added.

But their efforts were not helped by Donnelly and Ward, who tried to get between the police and Barr in order to set him free. Officers were able to arrest Donnelly and Ward after Barr had been subdued.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said the advice Barr had been given – namely that he would lose his job – was good advice, as that was exactly what had happened as a result of his behaviour.

Mr Allan said Barr fully understood his conduct was unacceptable. He was not able to offer an excuse, but wished to apologise.

Acting for Donnelly and Ward, Liam McAllister said the two were “deeply, deeply ashamed” of themselves, and wanted to convey their apologies for what had happened.

Sheriff Philip Mann said: “This is not the wild west. This is, generally speaking, a law-abiding community where people should feel free to go about their business without having this kind of abuse meted out to them on this occasion.”