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Repeat offender spared jail

A MAN who ran into the middle of a road in front of a vehicle and then violently struggled with police has been spared jail after appearing from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Nathan Hilditch, of Lerwick’s Ladies Drive, instead had his sentence deferred to allow the local mental health team to devise a treatment plan and for the 22 year old to be of good behaviour.

He was also bailed with a special condition that he does not have alcohol in his system while in a public place.

Hilditch previously admitted culpably and recklessly running onto the road on 21 March, causing the vehicle’s driver to take evasive action to avoid a collision, to the danger of others.

He also admitted resisting, obstructing and hindering two police constables and struggling violently with them.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said the “catalyst” in this instance was Hilditch “struggling to cope” with contact he had with his family.

He became “stressed” and started drinking, Allan said, adding that it is well known what happens when his client takes to the bottle.

The solicitor said that Hilditch had his own suggestion for Sheriff Philip Mann to consider for sentencing, which included the condition that he was not allowed to drink.

Allan said his client, who was not “dependent” on alcohol but had a problem with his behaviour while under the influence, had previously abided by similar court orders.

Social work reports confirmed that the 22 year old had begun to speak to the community mental health team, with a suggestion that staff needed time to draw up a treatment plan.

The solicitor said that there was “no help” in jail for Hilditch, who had been in custody on the matter since 22 March, and added that “prison is not going well for him”.

Sheriff Mann said he could have taken the “easy option” and given Hilditch a custodial sentence, but he said he wanted allow time for a mental health treatment plan and report to be prepared before deciding on his punishment. 

He granted bail and sentence was deferred until 10 May, with Hilditch having to consent to being breathalysed by police when in public.

The sheriff warned Hilditch that it was “effectively your last chance” and told him that non-compliance could result in a return to custody.