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Court / Hefty fines after two men assault barman in the Thule

TWO men from Glasgow were fined £850 each at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to seriously assaulting a barman in the town’s Thule Bar in March this year.

Christopher McKeown and Gerald Collins also pleaded guilty to a charge of behaving aggressively including challenging others to fight.

Thirty eight year old Collins, of Meadow Drive, further admitted to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner after being arrested by police when he uttered threats, kicked and struck his head on a police vehicle.

The court heard how both men, who were in Shetland working on the high voltage substation construction site, were out drinking in the Thule Bar on the evening of 18 March but were asked to leave due to their conduct in the pub.

They initially appeared to accept the request but when they did not leave the request was repeated at which point the situation started to escalate.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told the court that the bar manager called police after he had been challenged to fight.

The incident escalated from verbal to physical and punches started to be thrown when the barman asked them again to leave, while his boss was on the phone to the police.

When they arrived, Collins was arrested and placed in a police van where he was heard threatening officers saying that Shetland was a small place and he would find them.

Defending 39-year-old McKeown, of Glasgow Road, Barrhead, his solicitor Tony Boland said his client accepted that little could be said in mitigation, other than that they wanted to first finishing their drink before leaving.

He said McKeown felt events had needlessly escalated, and added that his client had been able to keep his employment despite his behaviour.

Tommy Allan, defending Collins, said his client was not proud of his conduct and wanted to apologise to police for what he had said.

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He said his client was also an electrician and although currently unemployed and looking after his very ill father, he was expecting to be in employment again soon.

The case against the two men were initially set to go to trial this morning, but after some last-minute negotiations they both pled guilty to a lesser assault charge.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said he had some hesitation dealing with the matter on a monetary basis, adding that islanders do not like people making comments in a threatening manner.

He fined both men £750 and ordered them to pay £100 each in compensation to the injured barman.

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