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Prison sentence for possessing kitchen knife

| Written by Shetland News

A MAN who was carrying a kitchen knife in public earlier this year has been given a 12-month prison sentence at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Trevor Couper could be released as soon as January after his sentence was backdated to when he first entered custody on the matter in July.

The 24 year old, whose address was given as Grampian Prison, previously pleaded guilty to having a kitchen knife at the Hoofields housing estate, in Lerwick, on 12 July without reasonable excuse or lawful authority.

The court previously heard from procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie that there had been a confrontation between Couper and another person, described as a "continuation of bad feeling".

He said Couper had been outnumbered, which led to him fleeing his home and seeking help from a neighbour – but he took the knife with him for self-defence purposes.

Couper also previously admitted assaulting a man at an address in Lerwick's Sandveien on 7 February and presenting a fork at him, seizing hold of him and struggling with him before punching the man and repeatedly attempting to stab him on the body with the fork.

He also pled guilty to shouting, swearing, throwing a glass and making threats at the Lounge Bar in Lerwick on 30 June and struggling violently with two police constables at the town's Market Cross on the same day.

Referring to the incidents on 30 June, Mackenzie said a drunk Couper was "making a fool of himself in the pub" and was pushed to the ground by another patron who had asked him to behave himself.

The fiscal said Couper got back up and threw a glass at "no-one in particular" before later struggling with police.

The offences in February stemmed from an argument a drunk Couper got into with his sister's partner.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday, defence agent Tommy Allan said his client – who appeared from custody – had spent a "considerable amount of time" on remand.

But Sheriff Philip Mann said there were "really no alternatives" to custody "shining out" from a prepared social work report, partly because for "one reason or another" community-based disposals have not worked for Couper.

Allan said Couper had since "removed himself from the scene, if you like" and said he had reduced his methadone prescription.

"When he is clean and sober, he is a sharp and intelligent young man," the solicitor said.

Allan encouraged Sheriff Mann to make "room for manoeuvre" in his sentence and confirmed that Couper would be open to going to rehab.

The sheriff said that he was worried that if Couper was sent to prison, no support system would be in place for when he was released – meaning he was likely to go back to his old ways.

He added that the festive season was a "very, very risky time" for someone like Couper.

Sheriff Mann gave Couper a 12-month prison term for the knife charge and backdated it to 14 July.

He added on a six-month supervised release order for when he is out of prison with an extra condition that he complies with all reasonable suggestions from social workers for treatment for drug or alcohol issues.

The sheriff deferred sentence on the other matters for nine months to allow Couper to demonstrate good behaviour.

An updated criminal justice social work report will also be prepared for then to examine the prospect of giving him a community payback order.

Sheriff Mann advised Couper that if you "keep your nose clean, do what you're told and act like a responsible citizen" then "things could eventually turn out alright for you."

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