Sheriff demands answers after prisoners miss flight

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank has instructed a court clerk to write to the holders of Scotland’s prisoner escort contract GEOAmey amid concerns that Shetland is receiving a “second rate” service.

His instruction followed a day in Lerwick Sheriff Court in which proceedings were heavily delayed due to prisoners being escorted from HMP Grampian to the court missing their flight.

The sheriff said that it was unclear whether the contractor had failed to provide an adequate service but added that it was “not the first time” the court had been delayed due to missed flights or prisoners not being taken to court at the time they should have been.

Defence agent Tommy Allan, when asked by the sheriff, relayed the experience of one of his clients.

The female prisoner had been awoken at 3am and transported to Aberdeen Airport, arriving at around 6am by her estimations.

This proved too late to make the 6.30am flight meaning her and other prisoners being flown up for Wednesday’s court were then booked on the 9.15am flight instead.

During the three hour delay the woman was kept in the back of a prison van where a request to go to the bathroom “initially” resulted in her being told to urinate in a “bag”, said Mr Allan. She was later escorted to a toilet, the defence agent clarified.

Both the sheriff and Mr Allan added that the delay was no reflection on local GEOAmey staff, who both men praised.

GEOAmey’s eight-year contract with the Scottish Government is worth £238 million.

The Shetland Times has approached GEOAmey for comment.


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.