Jail for 44-year-old father who tried to gouge police officer’s eye

A 44-year-old father who tried to gouge a police officer’s eye has been jailed for eight months.

Paul Bonnar and his son Calum, 24, previously admitted assaulting officers during a violent outburst in Gott, near Tingwall, on Valentine’s Day last year.

The pair, from Kirn, Dunoon, were back before Lerwick Sheriff Court for sentencing today (Wednesday).

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank noted how the late night attack had exposed how stretched policing in the isles had become – with just three officers on duty at the time. 

“When an incident like this happens, it means the whole resource of Shetland’s police officers need to be put in place to deal with it,” he said.

Sheriff Cruickshank said the policing situation was not a reflection on the accused – “just a statement of fact”.

He also raised concerns regarding comments made by Paul Bonnar in a criminal justice social work report.

Sheriff Cruickshank  said he “seemed to be in denial” about the most serious of the charges he faced – attempting to gouge an officer’s eye out.

The court previously heard how the two men had become involved in a violent struggle with officers after being kicked out of the accommodation they were staying in while working in Shetland.

Paul Bonnar grabbed an officer’s glasses, broke them, and then tried to gouge his eye. He then spat in the officer’s face, the court heard.

The violence was such that the officer felt compelled to use pepper spray on his attacker.

At court today, Paul Bonnar told his defence agent Tommy Allan that while he could not remember trying to gouge the officer’s eye, he would accept responsibility.

Mr Allan said the report presented to the court highlighted the difficulties Paul Bonnar had faced throughout his life, including traumatic childhood experiences and his use of various substances.

Despite having once been accepted to study journalism at university, Mr Alan said his client’s life had not gone to plan.

He said it had been “blighted” by alcohol and “the trouble that has got him into”.

While acknowledging the report was not “absolutely glowing” he said it indicated “some progress” had been made.

The defence agent said Paul Bonnar was remorseful for his actions and understood the officers involved were just doing their jobs.

Turning to the younger of the two men, Mr Allan said his situation was “very different” having never before been in trouble with the court.

Mr Allan said Calum Bonnar had become involved out of concern for his father and would not usually have been caught up in such behaviour.

The court previously heard how Calum Bonnar had joined in after seeing his father struggling and drove his knee into an officer’s groin before he was restrained and handcuffed.

Sheriff Cruickshank said what happened amounted to a “serious assault” on a police officer in the execution of his duty.

Turning to the older man, given his previous convictions, the sheriff said “the only way this can be dealt with is a custodial sentence”.

He jailed Paul Bonnar for eight months, reduced from 10, to take account of the timing of his plea.

Sheriff Cruickshank ordered Calum Bonnar carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and undergo 12 months of supervision.

The father and son hugged in the dock before the older man was taken down to the cells in handcuffs.


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