Man admits shouting, berating and laughing ‘derisively’ at estranged wife

An estranged wife was so fearful of her husband’s threatening behaviour that she locked herself in her bedroom and phoned for help, a court heard.

Rudi Meier, 44, appeared before Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday when he admitted to shouting, berating and laughing “derisively” at his former partner.

He was given six months to prove he could be of good behaviour before sentencing.

The court heard Meier and the complainer had been married since 2013, although they were separated for the last two and a half years.

At the time of the offence, on 8th March, they were still living together in Whalsay with their seven-year-old daughter.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Meier became “extremely angry” after his estranged wife told him their daughter had tested positive for Covid-19.

He said Meier was complaining that the tests were unreliable and would not accept the fact his daughter would be off school.

Mr MacKenzie said the complainer became so frightened by Meier’s behaviour that she went upstairs to her bedroom and locked the door.

The fiscal said Meier was shouting through the door, berating her, mocking her and laughing at her for 20 minutes.

The complainer was said to be so frightened that she called her parents for help.

After they arrived, the court heard they managed to calm him down.

Mr MacKenzie said: “His wife was frightened, he knew that and he continued with his behaviour in that knowledge.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client was “quite low” at the time of the incident and suffering from anxiety.

He said Meier’s voice was “extremely loud” and he was “not backward in coming forward in putting his point of view across”.

“Particularly due to his anxiety, there are times when he should be listening more than talking,” he said.

“He was like that when his wife married him, however many years ago, and he has been like that ever since.”

Mr Allan suggested the behaviour was at the “lower end of the scale of what might constitute an offence”.

He said the law was increasingly involved with situations involving “two people arguing between themselves about their lives together”.

Mr Allan added that his client accepted his behaviour had “crossed the line” and had emailed his wife an apology that evening.

Meier has since lost his home and is living in far less comfortable surroundings, he said.

Mr Allan suggested the sheriff could deal with the matter by “absolute discharge”.

However, Mr MacKenzie took exception to his characterisation of what happened being “simply a heated argument”.

“This was not a domestic argument,” Mr MacKenzie said. “It went well beyond that.”

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank noted that there were ongoing civil procedures and orders in place, which meant he did not consider a further non-harassment order to be necessary.

He deferred sentencing for six months to give Meier time to prove he can be of good behaviour.


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