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Court / Four young men sentenced for pier assault

FOUR young men have received hefty punishments after being involved in an incident which saw them pursue another man in a car before assaulting him in the centre of Lerwick.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said it was “simply not acceptable” to “hunt a victim in a pack”.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday, Karl Manson, Greg Walterson and Harry Bedding were all fined £900 and given compensation orders of £150.

Cory Williamson was placed under supervision for 12 months and given 135 hours of unpaid work alongside a compensation order of £150.

Twenty year old Manson, of Burnbank, Lerwick; Walterson, 20, of Sandsound, Bixter; 19-year-old Williamson, of Dunrossness; and Bedding, 19, of Hillgrind, Lerwick, all previously admitted acting together on 30 August last year at Lerwick’s Victoria Pier to carry out the offence.

They positioned a vehicle in front of the man’s parked car and removed the keys from his car to prevent him from driving away.

They then forced him to the ground and repeatedly punched him on the head and body, all to his injury.

At Wednesday’s hearing Sheriff Cruickshank said he was concerned that what the foursome had said to social workers about the circumstances of the incident was downplayed compared to the charges they had admitted in court.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie, who gave a narration at a previous hearing, said: “It’s clear that the four of them were in a car which had followed the complainer for some distance.

“That does not appear to have been by chance.”

The fiscal said there was a presumption that the incident took place after the four men “took the law into their own hands”.

He said the crown did not agree that it was a spontaneous act.

“The stopping of the vehicle behind the complainer’s vehicle was not a chance encounter,” Mackenzie added.

Defence agent Tommy Allan, representing Manson, likened the incident to “playground bullying at the next stage”.

All of the four men’s representatives painted a picture of their clients being remorseful for their actions.

Sheriff Cruickshank, however, said he was “very concerned about the behaviour” in which the victim was used as “prey”.

He said young men in Shetland should know that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable.

Sheriff Cruickshank said he gave serious consideration to adjourning the case to allow the four men to appear in court in person – but with social distancing requirements this was not possible.