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Court / Threatening behaviour on bus leads to prison term

Lerwick Sheriff CourtLerwick Sheriff Court.

A MAN who behaved threateningly on a bus while “very intoxicated” last month – and made aggressive comments to a passenger about her face covering – has been sent to prison.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank told Trevor Couper who appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday that his behaviour was “particularly insensitive and inappropriate given the current Covid-19 crisis”.

The 27-year-old ended up being given a sentence of 263 days in prison as he committed the offence after being released from jail early.

Couper, of Meadowfield Crescent, Scalloway, appeared from custody via video link after previously admitting repeatedly shouting, swearing, uttering threats of violence and acting aggressively during a bus journey on 5 June, while on bail.

He also previously admitted a charge of breaching bail.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told the court that Couper was “very intoxicated” as he got on the bus near to the Scalloway Hall and was unsteady on his feet.

Following guidelines the driver asked him about why he was making the journey, which saw Couper’s behaviour make a turn for the worse.

“The accused became irate at that,” Mackenzie said.

Couper then insulted the driver and threatened to “kick his head in”.

There was one other passenger on board initially but another later came on the bus as it continued its journey to Lerwick.

When it reached the town Couper said to one of the passengers, who was wearing a scarf as a face covering: “If you are so f***ing scared you should have stayed at home.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Couper had been released from prison on 22 May and came back to Shetland during lockdown.

He said this was a period of time his client found difficult as his usual support network was unavailable.

“He was someone who struggled to cope at the best of times,” Allan said.

The solicitor said Couper had consumed a “large quality of substances” before committing the offence and described him as “being off his face on drugs”.

Allan, however, said there was a hope his client might be able to benefit from new funding to enable people to go to rehab from custody.

Sheriff Cruickshank said that Couper committed the offence after being released early from prison.

His term had been due to expire on 21 November – meaning he had been released 169 days before it was set to finish.

The sheriff gave Couper a total of 140 days in prison for the offence on the bus, but reduced that to 94 days to reflect the time he had already spent in custody on the matter.

Adding on the 169 days left from his previous sentence, Couper was given a total of 263 days, or almost nine months, in prison.