Jail warning to abusive drunk
Found staggering in the street
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.