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Court / Refusal of travel on NorthLink ferry led to violent incident

TWO MEN from the Scottish mainland who reacted badly when they were refused travel on board one of the NorthLink ferries earlier this year were fined almost £1,600 when their case called at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Andrew Crawford and Paul McKenna pleaded guilty to charges of assault and threatening or abusive behaviour at the Holmsgarth ferry terminal in Lerwick on 30 March.

Both 50-year-old men were part of a group who were drinking heavily during the day after their Loganair flight had been cancelled, and their employer had booked them on the overnight ferry later the same day.

Described as “very drunk”, McKenna was refused travel when the group arrived at the busy NorthLink check-in desk at about 5.30pm.

A heated argument developed during which Crawford assaulted two NorthLink employees, including punching one on her head to her injury.

Police arrived and Crawford was the first to be arrested. Meanwhile, McKenna struggled violently with the other police officer before her colleague came to her help. Together they managed to get control of the situation.

McKenna pleaded guilty to assaulting a police constable in execution of her duties by striking her on the body. He also admitted struggling violently and directing sexually explicit gestures at the officer.

Speaking in mitigation in court on Thursday, both defence solicitors apologised on behalf of their clients and insisted that their behaviour was completely out of character, and that they had never behaved in this way before.

They said substantial amounts of alcohol had been consumed during the time between the flight cancellation and the ferry departure time.

Defending Crawford, of Shaftesbury Street, Alloa, solicitor Tommy Allan said his client realised halfway through the incident what he was doing and thereafter co-operated fully with police.

Meanwhile, McKenna, of Kilbowie Street, Clydebank, admitted that he behaved particularly badly when police arrived.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank fined Crawford £400 and ordered him to pay compensation of £150 and £200 respectively to the two affected NorthLink staff.

McKenna was fined a total of £800 for the two charges he pleaded guilty to.


Space2face Shetland

Space2face Shetland is an independent and confidential service which uses Restorative Justice and the arts to bring those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication. We enable everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

If you would like to reach out to us, please contact us via e-mail or mobile 07564 832467.

If you would like to know more, visit our website, or our Facebook page #space2faceshetland.

The project is also currently fundraising to secure office space in Shetland’s brand-new creativity and wellness centre, The Mission. If you’re interested in getting involved, or making a donation, head over to



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