Unpaid work for pair after violent struggle with police

Two men who struggled violently with police officers responding to a noise complaint have been given fines and unpaid work.

William McCover, 25, of Veester Hill, Sandwick, and Geordan Sales, 22, of Burnside, Lerwick, admitted the charges when they appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

The offences date back to 11th December last year, when the two men were at a house party in Lerwick. The address was occupied by Sales’ then girlfriend.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said that police were twice called to the property after receiving noise complaints. A warning on the first visit was followed by a second complaint. This saw police visit the address again, arriving at around 5.30am.

Sales answered the door and police found him in the company of a number of young men, “all of whom were known to them,” Mr MacKenzie said.

“He [Sales] became hostile, stating that it was his house and there was nothing the police could do because they didn’t have a warrant.”

The police officers were “outnumbered” and “extremely vulnerable”, the fiscal told the court. They explained their powers and attempted to enter the house, but a violent struggle erupted.

After the scene calmed down a second incident, involving just McCover, occurred in the police vehicle travelling to the police station. “Mr McCover was making very specific threats to one of those police officers,” Mr MacKenzie said.

Sales also admitted a second offence, which related to seizing hold of and repeatedly punching a man, to his injury.

Representing McCover defence agent Tommy Allan said that his client was “deeply sorry about his behaviour” and had been “mixing with people he has now distanced himself from”.

Defence agent Gregor Kelly, representing Sales, meanwhile said that his client was “sailing altogether closer to the wind”, referring to his history of offending.

“He tells me that certainly, he had taken far too much to drink, there was bravado and he thought he knew his rights,” Mr Kelly said.

As both of the offences he was appearing for happened “under cover of darkness” Mr Kelly suggested a restriction of liberty order, though he acknowledged that Sales was “fast running out of chances” to avoid custody.

Sheriff Philip Mann told Sales that he believed nobody would be able to criticise him for sending him to court.

However, he said he was willing to give him one more chance to avoid a custodial sentence.

“You’ve got to understand that if you appear before me again, or indeed any other sheriff here, it is very unlikely that you’ll avoid a custodial sentence.”

The sheriff placed Sales on an eight-month curfew, banning him from leaving his house between 7pm and 7am, seven days a week. He was also told to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

McCover, meanwhile, was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and a fine of £400.


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