Fine for ex-squaddie who blocked shop exit

An ex-squaddie suffering from post traumatic stress disorder breached the peace the day after Up-Helly-A’ when he grabbed hold of a “terrified” child’s scooter and prevented customers from leaving a shop.

John James McInnes, 33, of Beach View, Levenwick, behaved in a threatening or abusive manner at Alex Morrison’s in Lerwick on 1st February.

He shouted and swore as he stood in the doorway blocking the exit, and terrifying the young child who had brought the scooter to the shop in the first place.

McInnes was fined £400 when he admitted the charge at Lerwick Sheriff Court today.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the incident happened on the public holiday after Lerwick’s annual fire festival.

He described how a woman went to the shop with her young son, who had brought his scooter with him.

The child left the scooter outside while they went in to buy some sweets for the boy.

But shortly afterwards a witness came into the premises and said someone was interfering with the scooter.

Mr MacKenzie said the mother went out to investigate and found the accused standing in the traffic island nearby, “holding the scooter in the air and making a fool of himself”.

The fiscal said: “The mother asked him to give the scooter back, but he didn’t react.”

He added that another man who was nearby came and took the scooter off McInnes and gave it back to the mother.

McInnes then followed them back into the shop. He insisted he had not done anything wrong, argued and swore, and left the young boy “terrified”.

Mr MacKenzie added: “He stated he was not swearing, but swore as he was doing so.”

The court heard McInnes was then persuaded to go outside, which gave the mother and child the opportunity to leave the premises. A shop worker then phoned the police.

The fiscal said McInnes was under the influence of some intoxicant.

Defence agent Liam McAllister said McInnes had not been in any court for “some considerable number of years”. He described the offence as an “isolated course of conduct”.

Mr McAllister said McInnes had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, and was in receipt of a war pension having served in the armed forces.

He said McInnes made a “huge error of judgment” when he drank to excess on top of medication which he was taking.

The agent said McInnes was “embarrassed” by his conduct, and was in a position to pay a fine.

Sheriff Philip Mann told the accused: “No doubt you had a good, distinguished record in the army and you suffered post traumatic stress disorder as a result, but you should understand you should not be damaging your record and your reputation by acting in this manner.”


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