16th November 2018
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Jailed for breaching non-harassment order

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A man has been jailed for two months after breaching a non-harassment order and approaching his partner in Lerwick.

Oliver Tait, 45, appeared from custody on Monday to admit the offence that occurred on 3rd March.

The court heard that Tait, of Lingaro, Bixter, had a history of convictions for breaching special bail conditions and being ordained to keep away from the woman. Despite this he had gone into an optician’s near the Market Cross in Lerwick after his ex-partner had entered the premises with her mother and a friend.

According to procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie, Tait had looked her in the eye after entering the optician’s and then sat down and smirked at her, making her “immediately distressed”, bringing on an anxiety attack.

She had been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Tait’s previous conduct towards her, according to the fiscal and had to leave the optician’s accompanied by her friend.

Mr MacKenzie said: “It is difficult to properly convey the effect this is having on this woman.”

He said that Tait had lied when interviewed by police, having told them he had an appointment with the optician, something that investigations showed to be false. He had also claimed to be unaware he was under a non-harassment order, something he had subsequently “recanted”.

Tait had claimed to have been suffering such eye pain he had a “medical emergency”, but the fiscal said it was “nothing of the sort”.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said that Tait, who had a long-standing alcohol problem, had laser eye surgery in January and that had caused his eye pain and the need to visit the optician. He had only become aware of his ex after sitting down and with hindsight realised he should have left the shop then.

But Mr MacKenzie said it was clear that Tait paid no heed to the distress he was causing and did not accept it was a chance meeting. Nor was Tait, as claimed, impeded from going about his business in town for fear of bumping into her.

Sheriff Philip Mann said: “These situations are difficult when people like yourself refuse to allow the penny to drop. If this had been a chance incident I would approach it differently.”

But it appeared Tait had put himself “in close proximity” with the complainer for the “purpose of intimidating her,” therefore there was “no alternative” to a custodial sentence.

He imprisoned Tait for two months and ordered a renewal of his non-harassment order for three years after the current one expires. As well as banning him from attempting to contact the woman, the new order requires him to remove himself from any premises where his ex-partner is present.