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‘Own worst enemy’ guilty of obstructing police

A MAN from Lerwick who was found guilty of a number of charges including obstructing police officers and swallowing suspected drugs while in custody has been warned that he could be sent to prison.

Ryan Paterson, of Ronald Street, faced a trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday after denying three charges relating to offences said to have taken place on 5 and 6 February.

The 27 year old was accused of intentionally obstructing two constables at the town’s North Road on 5 February by refusing to remove his hands from his trouser pockets, attempting to run away from them and repeatedly striking them on the body.

Paterson also denied placing an item suspected to contain a controlled drug in his mouth at Lerwick Police Station on the same day, refusing to remove it and then swallowing it with the intention of perverting the course of justice.

He also denied shouting and swearing at the station on 6 February, with the offence aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation.

Paterson, who was representing himself, had previously pled guilty to maliciously blocking a toilet at the station on 5 February with papers cups and causing it to flood by repeatedly flushing it.

It cost the police service nearly £1,000 for cleaning and repairs after water flooded across the whole custody unit.

The court heard from two police witnesses that Paterson and a friend were stopped by police on Lerwick’s North Road because they wanted to speak to the 27 year old who may have been a witness to an assault.

Paterson became “instantly aggressive and uncooperative” and due to his “erratic behaviour” they decided to undertake a search of his clothing using powers under the misuse of drugs act.

The court heard that when they tried to take Paterson away from a public road to maintain his “dignity” while being searched, he refused to comply and he was taken to the police station.

CCTV footage from the police station was shown of Paterson being led to an observation cell after attempting to climb over the fixtures when his charge was being processed.

He was seen putting a mattress in front of the cell’s camera but his hands were seen “manipulating” something, which Paterson later said from the dock was him trying to graffiti the door.

The court heard that officers attended the cell and saw white powder on Paterson’s right hand, with one officer checking the toilet area but failing to find any thrown-away items.

Two officers tried to search Paterson and they saw a “wrap” inside his mouth suspected to be of drugs but he resisted and made a swallowing motion.

Paterson said as he questioned the police witnesses that he was “trying to get away from being choked” – something which the officers denied.

He initially had his clothes searched when he first came to the police station but a strip search was then undertaken.

The court also heard that when two male officers tried to wake up Paterson at around 5.30am to collect fingerprints, DNA and take a photo, he shouted offensive remarks.

In his submission to Sheriff Philip Mann, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the police evidence was consistent and he said officers acted professionally with “tolerance and restraint”.

He said thinking Paterson had drugs in his mouth while in the cell was an “entirely reasonable conclusion to make”.

Paterson suggested to Sheriff Mann that his “rights were abused” by officers trying to search him in public – although he admitted he made a “song and dance” about things while at the police station.

The sheriff found Paterson guilty of all the charges but had to call for social work reports, as he had never been in custody before.

He said he would consider all options when Paterson is sentenced on 22 November.

“You’re a bit of a chump, to be honest,” the sheriff later said and suggested that Paterson was his “own worst enemy…you tend to dig a hole for yourself.”

“I’m my own worst enemy the whole time,” Paterson admitted.