Man who tried breaking in to friend’s house armed with knife and shovel was ‘utterly flabbergasted’ by accusation

A 56-year-old man was found guilty of attempting to break in to a friend’s home while armed with a knife and shovel.

Narrinder Hundal, from Herrisdale Park, Gott, near Tingwall had denied the charge, claiming he had been at home drinking with friends all evening.

During a trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday, Hundal said he was “utterly flabbergasted” by the allegations.

However a witness told the court she had seen Hundal on the night of 12th May last year.

She said she saw a man with a knife and two other men in the road, “panicked” and called the police.

The witness said the men seemed to be trying to break in and one appeared to be carrying a shovel.

She saw them run off but was concerned they were near to a children’s home.

She told police “there are vulnerable children in the home so can you please hurry up”.

When asked in court whether she knew any of the men, the witness pointed to Hundal.

Hundal’s defence agent Tommy Allan asked the witness whether she could have been mistaken. He asked her whether there “even the slightest doubt”.

“No,” she said.

“I would not have named him to police If I had any doubt who he was.”

Hundal told the court he had been at home all day and night, first alone and then with friends.

He claimed he had not left the house since returning from buying alcohol the day before, or possibly earlier that day.

When asked how much he had to drink, Hundal said it was “significant” and he could “hardly walk”.

Asked how others had managed to identify him, he said he had “no idea”.

“I’m utterly flabbergasted,” he added.

“I’m lost for words, for the the first time in my life.”

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie suggested it would be “highly unlikely” for two people to identify Hundal – referring to the witness in court and another who picked him out from a photo board – and asked for an explanation.

Hundal said he had “none whatsoever”.

The accused likened the police investigation to a “child smashing apart a clock looking for time”.

The defence called one of Hundal’s friends as a witness, who confirmed he had been with accused on the evening in question.

He said they and two other men had been drinking in town and took a taxi together to Hundal’s house where the drinking continued.

Although he was uncertain of the times, the witness said neither he nor Hundal left the house before a taxi came to collect him.

Summing up, Mr MacKenzie highlighted the “measured” account from the witness who identified Hundal as well as the photo identification made by the other witness.

He said it was “not unreasonable” to question how two people could have made the same error.

The fiscal also noted inconsistencies with the defence witnesses and how they had arrived at Hundal’s home.

“On basis of all the evidence, I would suggest there’s a compelling evidential foundation, in effect a road map, for your lordship to make a finding of guilt and I would invite you to do so,” he said.

Mr Allan said his client’s position had been stated clearly and from the outset that he was not where the crime happened.

The defence agent said the witness who identified his client had been “entirely convinced” by what she saw.

But he asked the sheriff to question anyone who is “100 per cent convinced” with “no room for doubt whatsoever”.

Mr Allan said people who believed “the Earth is flat” were equally convinced in their beliefs.

“That doesn’t mean they are right,” he added.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said the prosecution witness had given “reliable and credible” evidence and had “no doubt” the person she saw was the accused.

The sheriff also noted another witness had managed to identify Hundal from a photo board after describing someone with “ratty hair, beard and round face”.

Sheriff Cruickshank acknowledged Hundal “does not accept he is responsible” and his account had been backed up by a friend.

However, he also noted “clear discrepancies” in the general facts presented, including how various people had arrived at Hundal’s address.

Given the discrepancies and the identification given by the witness the sheriff said: “I’m not left with reasonable doubt and I find Hundal guilty as charged.”.

Sheriff Cruickshank adjourned the hearing for reports ahead of sentencing on 20th March.


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