Stranraer Sheriff Court

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A Newton Stewart restaurateur who admitted exploiting an illegal immigrant by giving him kitchen work in exchange for food and accommodation was given 240 hours community service by Sheriff Kenneth Robb at the court in Stranraer on Tuesday.

Forty-eight-year old Mohammed Shafqat, who runs the Little India restaurant in Newton Stewart’s Victoria Street, plead guilty at an earlier diet to breaking immigration laws when providing food and lodgings at the premises for Jaswinder Singh between June 9 and July 29 last year.

Shafqat returned to the court for sentencing on Tuesday after reports had been prepared.

Depute Procurator Fiscal Kay Christie told the court that the accused had taken on Mr Singh when he learned he had no home, but he failed to check his legality to be in the country. When a routine Border Agency inspection discovered Mr Singh was not a member of the European Union they alerted the police.

Shafqat’s solicitor said Mr Singh had taken the word of a friend that Mr Singh was in the country legally and had not asked to check any of his documentation. Mr Singh was given shifts in the restaurant kitchens at the weekends but was not paid. When Mr Singh’s illegal status was revealed the accused told him to leave but Mr Singh had asked for more time to find somewhere else to go. When the police returned and Mr Singh was still there, Shafqat was charged.

His solicitor added that Shafqat, who lives in Glasgow and commutes daily to Newton Stewart, had been in the restaurant business a long time and “should have known better”.

Sentencing, Sheriff Robb told the accused he had exploited someone in a vulnerable position and although the offence was cloaked in a “veil of humanitarianism” the situation had been to Shafqat’s benefit.

A TRIAL date of September 26 was arranged for a 42-year-old woman who denies driving her car in Whithorn when four times over the drink drive limit in January.

Joanne Kirkwood, of Drummaston Farm, appeared at court on Tuesday to plead nor guilty to driving with 161 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath when the legal limit is 35; driving in Ketburn Place, Whithorn, on January 20 without due care and attention and when her windscreen was obscured by frost, causing the car to veer over the road, mount a kerb and collide with a stone wall. The accused also denies failing to report an accident to police within 24 hours and failing to provide a name and address at the scene of an accident.

A DRUNK driver was disqualified for 30 months and fined £675 after hitting a lamppost in Stranraer’s Edinburgh Road in April. After the crash, 24-year-old Ryan Glen got a taxi driver to take him back past the scene of his accident.

Glen, of 27 Victoria Place, Stranraer appeared in the dock at the sheriff court in Stranraer on Tuesday to admit driving without due care and attention in Edinburgh Road on April 17 when leaving the roadway and hitting a lamppost. He also admitted driving with 121 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath when the limit is 35.

Fiscal Depute Kay Christie informed the court that the crash had been heard by witnesses who then saw the accused at the scene. When the police arrived the witnesses were being questioned when they spotted Glen in a passing taxi. The police stopped the taxi and the officers spoke to the accused who was smelling of drink. He admitted to officers he had been the driver of the crashed car.

Agent Margo Nichol said that Glen has realised he has to learn from the experience.

A MINNIGAFF man will return to the court for sentencing later this month after admitting theft at the sheriff court in Stranraer on Tuesday.

Ian Hepburn, aged 27, 10 Bruce Place, pled guilty to taking and driving a car from Masonfield Drive without the owners consent on either December 26 or 27 last year and breaking into the Forest Enterprise Offices in Minnigaff on December 26 and stealing a computer tower.

Sheriff Kenneth Robb deferred sentence until June 28 for reports to be compiled on the accused.

A STRANRAER man appeared at Stranraer Sheriff Court on Tuesday to plead not guilty to five drug related charges.

William Forrester, aged 47, of 96 George Street, denied supplying cannabis and cannabis resin at 2 Low Barbeth Cottages, Leswalt, producing cannabis at the same address, plus two separate charges of being in possession of cannabis resin.

All the offence were alleged to have taken place on August 2 last year.

The case will be called again on June 6.

TWO women who deny supplying valium will appear at the sheriff court in Stranraer on June 7.

Forty-five-year old Anne Marie Lowe, a prisoner in Cornton Vale and 36-year-old Karen Whorlow, 5 Murrayfield Avenue, Stranraer, both pled not guilty to supplying drugs at 30 Ashwood Drive, Stranraer on March 9.

A Lochans man who admitted supplying heroin will be sentenced on June 21.

Gordon Craig, aged 44, 14 Cairn Terrace, appeared at Stranraer Sheriff Court earlier this week to admit supplying the class A drug on October 10 or 11 last year.

Sheriff Kenneth Robb deferred sentence for reports on the accused.

A DRUNKEN night out with a friend ended unfortunately for a 24-year-old Drummore woman who ended up spending the Bank Holiday weekend in police custody.

Rosie Ann Birkett, of West Cairngaan Farm, appeared in court on Tuesday to admit taking a car from North Balmain Farm, Skoneykirk, without the owners consent, driving with 81 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the limit being 35 and driving without insurance.

Fiscal depute Kay Christie told the court that the accused and a friend had been staying at a local farmhouse having arrived in a car that Birkett’s friend had hired. The car and the keys were left there as the pair then travelled into Stranraer by taxi for a few drinks. When they later became separated the accused took a taxi back to the farm near Stoneykirk. At 4pm the friend received a call from Birkett to say she has crashed the hire car into a ditch at the farmyard. The friend then got a taxi back and found the accused in the car in her pyjamas. The police were called and Birkett, who was noted to be smelling of alcohol, was arrested.

In mitigation, agent Michael Kilkerr said that the accused, who has a provisional licence, had only driven the car a short distance when she realised what she was doing was “a bad idea” and had turned to go back when the accident happened. He added she had taken responsibility for her actions.

Sheriff Kenneth Robb fined Birkett a total of £450 and disqualified her from driving for 18 months.

SENTENCE was deferred on a Stranraer man who appeared from custody on Tuesday at the sheriff court in Stranraer to plead guilty to theft.

James Govan, aged 25, 29 Cairnview Crescent, admitted sealing a quantity of food items, a can opener and a toothbrush from Tesco in the town last Friday.

The case will be called again on June 21 after Sheriff Kenneth Robb called for reports on the accused.