In Court...

In Stranraer Sheriff Court this week

Youth fined 300

A STRANRAER youth was fined 300 in court on Tuesday after he forced officers to use CS spray to calm him down.

Kevin Rice (17) of Mount Vernon Road was arrested on Monday night after an argument broke out between him and his girlfriend as they walked along Church Street.

The court heard that Rice took his girlfriend's handbag from her and began to swing it around, hitting the wing mirror of a parked car.

A resident on the street called the police and as they arrived, they found Rice on Lewis Street.

"Mr Rice told the officers to f**k off," said fiscal depute Alan Cameron.

"He continued with, "Come on me jesters," as if challenging them. He then began jumping about and the officers warned him that if he didn't calm down, they'd be forced to use CS spray.

"He failed to calm down and they did use the spray on him. He continued to shout and swear, calling the officers bitches and cows.

"After being arrested, he was seen by a doctor who said he was OK."

Mr Cameron said that Mr Rice was fully apologetic when interviewed by the police.

Sheriff Smith said to Mr Rice: "For someone of your age, who has never been in trouble before, this was a ridiculous thing to do."

Spat in girlfriend's face

ANOTHER man is being assessed for the recently implemented drug testing and treatment programme after he appeared in court for assaulting his girlfriend.

Paul Cairns (29) of Mansefield Place, Newton Stewart admitted in court on Wednesday that he had also repeatedly struck his partner on the head in April of this year.

Ian Milligan, defending, said that his client didn't want to undertake a detox programme as that would mean he's simply swapping one drug for another.

"Instead, he's doing it 'cold turkey', so to speak," said Mr Milligan in court.

Mr Cowan will be assessed to see if he is a suitable candidate for the programme, which offers weekly testing and a rehabilitation programme for offenders.

He is due to appear again in court in July after an assessment has taken place.

Brothers spared jail

TWO BROTHERS from Newton Stewart were spared further jail sentences this week as they appeared on charges of assault.

Alan McRobert (21) and his brother Kevin (23), who are currently serving sentences for assaults on police officers, were told that as an alternative they would be placed under restriction of liberty orders for their part in a late-night brawl last March.

The court heard in March during a trial that a family estrangement had led the two and their elder brother David to engage in an argument outside Hillview Apartments, Newton Stewart - the then home of Alan McRobert.

It emerged that an incident earlier in the evening at an address in Minnigaff had seen the three become agitated with each other and the two younger ones left.

Later that night, Alan and Kevin claimed a plant pot came through the patio door of the apartment and that when they went out to investigate, they found their brother and several others, including David's girlfriend and her mother, on the gravel to the rear of the property.

Witnesses said that the three had turned up at Hillview to ask why the younger boys had trashed their house earlier.

It was then claimed by witnesses that wooden bats, metal poles and weights were used by Kevin and Alan but the two denied this.

Sheriff Smith said: "I don't think the witnesses have the intelligence or imagination to come up with weapons like this."

Kevin was found guilty of punching Nancy Bark and Alan found guilty of repeatedly hitting Karen Bark.

Also involved in the incident was David Bark (21) of Wigtown, James Sloss (20) of Seaview, Wigtown and Darren Tweedie (18) of Park Crescent Creetown.

All three were charged with fighting and causing a breach of the peace and Sloss and Bark were fined 150 on each charge.

Tweedie was fined 200 on each charge.

Sheriff Smith ordered that the McRobert brothers be placed under restriction of liberty orders upon their release from jail in the autumn and ordered them to appear closer to the time to decide the extent of their restriction.

Stole mobile from girl

A DRUNKEN theft landed a 19 year-old boy in court this week.

Gavin Duncan, of St John Street, admitted stealing a mobile phone from a chip shop in January this year.

The court heard from fiscal Kenneth Grieve that a 13-year old girl had been in the Ivy Leaf chip shop with friends and had been using her mobile.

She had placed it on the counter and left without remembering to pick it up.

Soon after, Duncan came in with friends and lifted it up just as she arrived back to collect it.

"She asked him if he had seen her mobile and he said no," said Mr Grieve.

"Upon further enquiries by the girl's family, the phone was traced back to Duncan and returned to her minus the sim card."

Paul Feeney, defending, said that Duncan was very embarrassed about the incident and that he had been drinking heavily, despite it only being 4pm.

"When he woke up sober, he returned the phone as he realised what he'd done," said Mr Feeney.

"The SIM card can't be explained as it was obviously interfered with during when he was drunk."

Sheriff Smith said: You've reached a pretty low ebb this time. Stealing from a 13-year old girl is despicable."

Mr Duncan was fined 200.

Assaulted partner

A MAN pled guilty to assaulting a former Stranraer woman in a quiet street in the town after a heavy Saturday night out.

James Robinson (56) of Larne admitted in Stranraer Sheriff Court on Wednesday to assaulting his partner whom he lives with in Larne.

The offence took place in a car at Hillside Crescent, Stranraer around at 12pm on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Robinson attacked his partner by striking her on the head and trying to remove her from the car by pulling her arm and clothes, in an attempt to go back to Larne alone.

The couple were in Stranraer to visit the woman's family. Tension had developed between the couple after having been out the night before when Mr Robinson left to go home early and his partner continued her night out.

Next day the bad feeling continued, eventually escalating into the row that sparked the assault.

Mr Robinson's solicitor, Paul Feeney, told the court that the incident was a "one-off event" and that both parties were keen to reconcile their differences.

Judge James Smith deferred sentencing for 12 months in order to allow Mr Robinson time to prove his behaviour on Sunday was out of character and unlikely to ever be repeated.

Remanded in custody

JUDGE Sheriff Smith decided on Wednesday morning to keep a young man remanded in custody until a psychiatric report has been completed.

Keith Campbell Stewart (22) of Agnew Crescent, Stranraer, plead guilty to beach of the peace which placed police officers in a state of alarm.

Mr Stewart phoned the emergency services at 3:30pm threatening to stab himself with a kitchen knife. The emergency services managed to keep him talking on the phone until police arrived at his home. Mr Stewart at first would not let police into his house, but eventually agreed to drop the knife out of his window. Police were then able to take Mr Stewart to Stranraer Police Station where he was then examined by a doctor.

Judge Sheriff Smith recognised Mr Stewart from Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court where he had previously been held in custody for fire raising. Judge Smith felt it would b irresponsible of himself to sentence Mr Stewart until a psychiatric report had been completed.

Mr Stewart's solicitor, Ian Milligan accepted this outcome and told the court that a meeting had ben arranged for Mr Stewart with the Fire Brigade to inform him of the possible consequences of setting your own house on fire.

Put boys in state of fear and alarm

A YOUNG man from Stranraer was sentenced to 280 hours community service on Tuesday for breach of the peace and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Gareth Hamilton (21) of Broomfield Gardens Stranraer, pled guilty to both charges which involved putting three young boys in Newton Stewart in a state of fear and alarm and deliberately turning in the wrong offensive weapon to police.

The court heard how Mr Hamilton had been in a "dark vehicle" which was moving slowly along Station Road where three 13 year-old boys were playing with their bikes.

The boys saw "a passenger with a handgun" then "saw two flashes and heard two bangs" before the car the sped away, fiscal depute Alan Cameron told the court.

The badly scared boys recovered two spent cartridges from the road and were able to later identify the car.

The car was found in Hanover Street in Stranraer, containing a third spent cartridge, similar to that recovered earlier and an empty box of the same type of ammunition. Witnesses admitted seeing Mr Hamilton earlier in the day with the box containing the ammunition.

Once the police had tracked Mr Hamilton down, he admitted to possessing a gun, then intentionally handed in the wrong gun to the police station.

Ironically, the gun which was handed in was much more powerful than that which he had used.

When it became obvious that the gun received did not match the ammunition used, the police went back to interview to Mr Hamilton, who immediately said: "I'll get it for you, I didn't expect to get away with it."

Sentencing, Sheriff Smith told Hamilton: "Firing two shots in a town where there are children is the height of irresponsibility."

Sheriff Smith warned Hamilton a prison sentence would normally be imposed, but instead sentenced him to 280 hours community service to allow him to keep his job, "which are few and far between."