NHS Shetland - Survey - March 2021

Court / Long jail term for motoring and firearms offences

A FORTY four year old man who used to work as a farm manager on Fetlar was jailed for 32 months after admitting a string of motoring offences as well as possession of firearms when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Matthew John Whiles, whose address was given as Grampian Prison, was also disqualified from driving for eight years and told he had to sit the extended test of competency if he wanted to drive again.

Whiles, who has a substantial criminal record and had been jailed for ten years at Truro Crown Court for robbery in July 2007, pled guilty to eleven charges of driving while disqualified and driving without a licence in Fetlar, the Shetland mainland as well as in Orkney between 4 December 2017 and 26 November last year.

He also admitted having no car insurance on eleven occasions.

Whiles further pled guilty to a “fleeting” possession of two shotguns and ammunition when passing the weapons, kept in a case, from one person to another at Aithness, on Fetlar, on one occasion between 1 and 31 March 2018.

The court heard that Whiles had come to Fetlar in an attempt to make a fresh start after a number of lengthy custodial sentences.

Procurator fiscal said that while the possession of the weapons was just “momentary”, Whiles was nevertheless “clearly aware of his status and the prohibition on him” as a result of the earlier convictions.

Defence solicitor Tommy Allan said his client had been trying to make a fresh start and leave the life of serious crime behind him. But he accepted, Allan said, that he now had to pay the price for his stupidity.

Taking a 20 minutes break to consider his judgement, sheriff Ian Cruickshank said that he considers Whiles’ conduct as “open defiance over a lengthy and sustained period of time”.

He jailed him for driving while disqualified and driving without a licence for a total of 26 months.

In relation to the firearms offence he added a jail term of six months and said given the ten-year sentence for robbery he would have thought the last thing Whiles wanted was to get in contact with were firearms.