Jail warn­ing to abu­sive drunk

Found stag­ger­ing in the street

Lennox Herald - - NOTEBOOK - Court re­porter

A drunk man who was found stag­ger­ing in the road hav­ing soiled him­self came “as­ton­ish­ingly close”to be­ing sent to prison last week.

James Mar­shall from Dum­bar­ton con­tin­u­ously hurled abuse at of­fi­cers when they went to ar­rest him fol­low­ing a dis­tur­bance in Alexan­dria’s Bridge Street last month.

When Mar­shall was in the dock at Dum­bar­ton Sher­iff Court last week Sher­iff Maxwell Hendry told the 36-year-old he was torn be­tween send­ing him to prison or hand­ing him his fourth com­mu­nity pay­back or­der.

The law­man said: “There comes a point when ac­cused per­sons can’t be af­forded an­other op­por­tu­nity. Why should po­lice of­fi­cers tol­er­ate this sort of abuse?”

Fis­cal de­pute David McDon­ald told the court po­lice re­ceived an anony­mous call re­gard­ing a dis­tur­bance at around 12.20am on Fe­bru­ary 9.

Of­fi­cers at­tended and saw Mar­shall stag­ger­ing in the road, the court heard.

Mr McDon­ald con­tin­ued: “Mr Mar­shall was clearly in­tox­i­cated, ex­tremely un­steady on his feet and ap­peared to have soiled him­self.

“Of­fi­cers stopped him to en­sure all was in or­der. At this time Mr Mar­shall pro­vided his name how­ever re­fused to pro­vide any other de­tails.”

When they asked where he had come from, Mar­shall swore at them.

Of­fi­cers told him to stop and ad­vised him they were look­ing for a man who had been caus­ing a dis­tur­bance nearby but he con­tin­ued to use foul lan­guage to­wards them.

He was placed un­der ar­rest, handcuffed and taken to the po­lice sta­tion, where he was held in cus­tody.

De­fence lawyer Kenny Clark de­scribed Mar­shall’s con­duct as “un­palat­able be­hav­iour”.

He said: “He’s gen­uinely em­bar­rassed and re­morse­ful for it.

“Mr Mar­shall presents as a model of ci­vil­ity and cour­tesy when sober. “It’s a very dif­fer­ent pic­ture when he is un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol.”

The lawyer said Mar­shall has been seek­ing help for ad­dic­tion is­sues.

Sher­iff Hendry told the lawyer: “I’m very much be­tween a cus­to­dial sen­tence and yet an­other com­mu­nity-based sen­tence.”

Mr Clark said he felt Mar­shall had a bet­ter chance of deal­ing with his is­sues if he was al­lowed to re­main in the com­mu­nity.

He added: “I don’t sug­gest for a mo­ment that the po­lice should have to put up with that sort of be­hav­iour.

“They will be bet­ter served if Mr Mar­shall’s prob­lems are dealt with in the ap­pro­pri­ate way.

“He ap­pre­ci­ates he has been given opportunities to do that in the past.

“I would be ask­ing you to give him that op­por­tu­nity be­cause, in the longer term, that will bet­ter serve those em­ployed in the emer­gency ser­vices. Prison would give short­term re­lief.”

The sher­iff re­sponded: “Un­less he de­cides the ex­pe­ri­ence of prison was one that he didn’t want to re­peat.”

He put Mar­shall on su­per­vi­sion for 18 months and or­dered him to do 150 hours of un­paid work.

Sher­iff Hendry told him: “You have to de­cide what’s more im­por­tant to you, al­co­hol or your lib­erty. The court will be watch­ing to see what you are do­ing.

“If you’re do­ing well you can ex­pect the or­der to con­tinue and if you’re not do­ing well then you can ex­pect the or­der to be breached, re­voked and you will be sent to prison in­stead.”

Mar­shall will also have to stay at home be­tween 7pm and 7am for the next six months.

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