NHS Shetland - Survey - March 2021

Court / Sheriff demands explanation why prisoner missed plane north

SHERIFF Ian Cruickshank has said that he would not accept Shetland being treated to a second-rate service after proceedings at Lerwick Sheriff Court were delayed when GEOAmey prison escort staff missed their scheduled flight from Aberdeen on Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank will sit on the bench for the first time next week. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland NewsSheriff Ian Cruickshank.

The sheriff said that he was not entirely clear if there had been a failure in delivery of the service but it was “not the first time a prisoner in custody had been delayed or missed flights” when being brought to court.

He added: “I am not prepared to allow Shetland to receive a second rate service under a public service contract.”

The sheriff said that his comments were not directed at local GEOAmey staff who fulfilled their duties in a competent manner.

One female prisoner had been wakened at 3am at HMP Grampian in Peterhead and arrived at the airport around 6am for a 6.30am flight. This had given airport staff insufficient time to put the prisoners through security.

The woman ended up in the transport van for six hours, at first being given “some form of bag” to urinate in, before she was escorted to a proper toilet.

The prisoners were flown up on a later 9.15am flight. It was 12 hours before the woman was dealt with in court from her early awakening.

Sheriff Cruickshank instructed the court clerk to write to GEOAmey to seek an explanation for the delay.