SIC - Orkney & Shetland valuation joint board

Fines for photo threat and derogatory messages

A MAN from Lerwick who threatened to disclose an intimate photo of his ex girlfriend has been fined over £1,000.

Brian Costley, of Excelsior Place, previously admitted threatening to disclose the photo without her consent, intending to cause her harm or distress, on or between 25 and 27 September at an address in Lerwick.

The 32 year old also pleaded guilty to sending derogatory messages and making threats to the woman through a social media messaging application at the same location over the same time period.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday that the offences took place in the aftermath of a break-up.

While Costley was “frank” with police about his behaviour, Mackenzie said it was a “deliberate act designed to cause hurt and distress”.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client was in a “fair bit of hurt and distress” himself at the time of the offences.

A mixture of “stress, heartache and disappointment” led him into doing something he shouldn’t have done, the solicitor said.

Sheriff Philip Mann said Costley’s behaviour was “wholly misguided” and said it was a “particularly nasty way of causing harm or distress to an ex partner”.

He said it was a “sad and disappointing feature of modern life” that people could use social media in this way, although he accepted in this case it was an “empty threat”.

The sheriff explained he could only send Costley to prison if he felt it was the only suitable option and he said on balance a fine would be justified.

He gave Costley fines totalling £1,000 and added on another £300 for a previously admitted charge of possessing 2.76 grams of cocaine at Lerwick Police Station on 29 September.