Hilditch fails to have jail sentence imposed in Lerwick reduced at appeal court

A serial offender from the isles Nathan Hilditch has failed in a bid to have his jail-term cut.

Hilditch had been locked up for a string of crimes – including obstructing police and making almost 30 bogus 999 calls.

The 22-year-old – who already had a lengthy list of convictions – had earlier been branded a “total menace” by the sheriff when he appeared at court in Lerwick.

Hilditch returned to the dock today during a sitting of the Sheriff Appeal Court at the High Court in Glasgow.

His lawyers argued the 20-month sentence imposed in May this year had been too strict.

However, the attempt to get a lighter prison term was thrown out after Sheriff Principal Mhairi Stephen QC ruled there had been “no miscarriage of justice”.

Hilditch had earlier pleaded guilty in Lerwick to violently struggling with police officers, making 28 nuisance emergency calls and breaching bail.

He also admitted “culpably and recklessly” running in front of a moving car.

The court at the time heard Hilditch was “not able to control himself” when he had been drinking.

Sheriff Philip Mann jailed him, stating he had previously given Hilditch “every possible opportunity”.

Hiltitch’s lawyer John Keenan told the appeal court hearing that the sentence had been “excessive”.

However, sheriff Stephen said Hilditch was “fairly well known in the community” with an “unenviable record” of offending.

She added that it appeared the sentencing sheriff had been “at the end of his tether” with him.

The court also heard Hilditch had a “hopeless addiction” to alcohol which sparked his crime sprees.

Delivering her decision, sheriff Stephen said: “The question is whether the sentence is excessive and does this point to a miscarriage of justice.

“The main aim was to protect the public from his offending, which has become persistent.

“The sentencing sheriff is dealing with an island community where police resources are finite.

“This is a local sheriff on an island, who is well placed to judge the impact of this behaviour on the community.

“He (Hilditch) should know that the courts regard these offences as serious.

“He was repeatedly warned about the consequences should he continue to drink and offend.

“The local community police and control room also deserve some respite from this behaviour.

“It does not lead to the conclusion that there has been a miscarriage of justice.”

Grant McCabe


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