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Ex-soldier fined for ‘short-lived incident of stupidity’

A FORMER soldier who took a young boy’s scooter from outside a Lerwick shop after drinking at Up Helly Aa before shouting and swearing has been fined £400.

Defence agent Liam McAllister said John McInnes, of Levenwick, had mixed alcohol with new medication before the “one-off” incident on 1 February.

The 33 year old admitted at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner at the Alex Morrison’s shop on Burgh Road by standing in a doorway to prevent customers from leaving, and shouting and swearing.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the offence, which occurred at around 3.30pm, was sparked when a boy left his scooter outside the shop before going in to buy sweets with his mum.

However, someone came in to say that McInnes was “interfering” with the scooter, and the mother went out to see him holding it up in his arms on the nearby traffic island.

The scooter was only retrieved when another member of the public managed to grab it off him and return it to the mother, who went back into the shop with her son.

However, McInnes then blocked the shop door and remonstrated that he hadn’t done anything wrong before shouting and swearing.

“The wee boy was terrified and was cowering behind his mother,” Mackenzie said.

McInnes was only persuaded to leave by other customers and the mother phoned the police soon after.

McAllister said his client had only recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from his time in the armed forces and had made an “error of judgment” by drinking while on medication.

The solicitor said it was a “fairly short-lived incident of stupidity” and added that McInnes takes full responsibility.

Sheriff Philip Mann said he understood McInnes’ mental health condition, but he ruled that it was no excuse for his behaviour.

He said the incident was “wholly inappropriate” and one which would have been “quite frightening” for the boy.

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