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Court / ‘Naive attempt’ to not report accident leads to big fines

TWO YOUNG islanders have been handed hefty fines for attempting to conceal a road traffic accident that led to further and more serious offending.

Appearing at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday, Shaun Ritchie, of Trondra, pleaded guilty to four charges, including failing to report an accident and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Co-accused Brogan Watt, of the same address, admitted a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The court heard how Ritchie had crashed his car through a fence and into a field between the Cauldhame and Grindadale junction in the early hours of 21 January.

But instead of reporting the accident to the landowner and the police the 22-year-old tried to avoid the consequences of the accident by embarking on a course of action that dragged them both deeper and deeper into a lie.

Both procured the help of friends to remove the damaged vehicle from the field, remove the number plates, and then hide the vehicle.

The court heard that police, who had been alerted to the unusual activity in Trondra, were unable to find a trace of the young couple.

They attended the chalet both were living in several times during the night but received no response when knocking on windows and doors.

They became so concerned for their wellbeing that after three hours of searching police forced entry to the chalet where they found Ritchie and Watt hiding in the bedroom pretending to sleep.

While the search for the pair was ongoing, they had managed to procure insurance for the vehicle and pretended the cover had been bought prior to the accident.

Defending Ritchie, solicitor Tommy Allan described the actions of his client as a “naive attempt to avoid the consequences” of the accident.

He said his client feels embarrassed by his actions and added that the whole episode had been a big lesson for him.

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Speaking on behalf of 24-year-old Watt, defence solicitor Gregor Kelly said that with hindsight, honesty has to be the best way forward.

He said neither she nor her boyfriend could have foreseen how this would unravel.

“The deeper they got into this, the deeper the lie and inconvenience to others,” he said.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank observed that a progression of events culminated into actions which led to the perversion of justice, the most serious of the charges.

He fined Richie a total of £1,600 and added six penalty points to his driving licence. Watt was fined £800, all payable at £100 per month.


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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