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Struggled with security staff in court

A MAN who struggled violently with custody officers in Lerwick Sheriff Court after being sent to prison earlier this year has had his sentence deferred for social work reports.

Craig Nelson, whose address was given as Grampian Prison, got into the scuffle as he was being led through the building from the courtroom into custody in the connecting police station on 18 April.

The 38 year old admitted at the court on Thursday to conducting himself in a disorderly manner, shouting, swearing, struggling with custody officers and committing a breach of the peace.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Nelson’s walk to custody was made worse by “hangers on” who were trying to speak to him as he was being escorted down the stairs.

Nelson then became “frustrated and angry”, the fiscal said, and “literally dug his heels in and refused to be moved”.

A struggle ensued and one of the G4S custody officers – who was aged 62 – fell to the ground, but he did not receive any injuries.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client had just been sentenced to 14 months in prison immediately prior to the incident.

He suggested that Nelson wrongly believed he would have been able to speak to his sister as he was being walked down the stairs, and this contributed to his frustration.

Allan said his client later apologised to the staff member who had been knocked over.

The solicitor encouraged Sheriff Philip Mann to take into account the change in Nelson’s character since the offence, with the 38 year old since reducing his substance use.

The sheriff said it was “simply the case that we can’t allow people to kick off” after sentences are passed down.

While he accepted that Nelson had perhaps been “egged on” by other people, Sheriff Mann said it was a “very serious charge for which you ought to be punished for”.

The sheriff deferred the case until 20 December to allow social work reports to be prepared and noted that they could offer suggestions for any alternatives to a custodial sentence.