Officer pepper-sprayed violent offender who tried to gouge his eye

An officer pepper-sprayed a man who tried to gouge his eye during a violent attack, a court heard.

Paul Bonnar, 44, and his son Calum, 23, admitted assault and struggling violently with police officers when they appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court today (Wednesday).

The court heard how the violence was such that extra officers had to be recalled to duty to help control the situation.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said it showed how exposed Shetland officers could be when faced with dangerous situations.

It happened late at night on 14th February last year.

The court heard how the father and son, both from Kirn, Dunoon, had been in Shetland for work.

Mr MacKenzie said the pair had been asked to leave the accommodation provided by their employer.

He said Paul Bonnar contacted a former partner and was told they might stay at her grandfather’s home in Gott, Tingwall.

Without waiting for confirmation, the court heard the two men attended the address.

Mr MacKenzie said the homeowner heard hammering from the garage and, not knowing about the arrangements made by his granddaughter, called the police.

As soon as the officers arrived, the two men were “immediately aggressive”, the fiscal said.

The officers asked them to step back into the lit area of the garage where they were arrested.

When one of the officers attempted to handcuff the father “violence ensued”, the court heard.

Seeing his father struggling with the officer, Calum Bonnar joined in and drove his knee into the officer’s groin.

The court heard the officer managed to restrain the younger man, handcuff him and a female colleague arrived to keep him under control.

During the struggle with Paul Bonnar, Mr MacKenzie said the accused managed to pull the glasses off an officer’s face, break them, and then try to gouge his eye, causing scratches to his face.

He also spat in the officer’s face.

The fiscal said the violence was such that the officer had to pepper-spray the accused.

He said this had the “immediate desired effect” and the accused was restrained and handcuffed.

The accused was then given the appropriate aftercare for pepper spray.

The officer suffered scratches but did not require any formal medical treatment.

Mr MacKenzie said the three officers in attendance were the only ones on duty throughout Shetland that night.

“That clearly identifies just how exposed local officers can be when faced with such violence,” he said.

“Indeed, two officers had to be recalled for duty from home to attend the locus and assist in controlling the situation.”

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank adjourned the case for the preparation of criminal justice social work reports.

The pair will return for sentencing in July.


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