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Court / Man ordered to pay fines and compensation worth more than £1k after trial

A MAN from Lerwick has been given fines and compensation totalling more than £1,000 following a trial at the town’s sheriff court on Thursday.

Dan Inkster, of Lyndhurst Place, was found guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, and assaulting another man, in Lerwick in 2022.

The 37-year-old was found not guilty of assaulting a woman by grabbing her arm, and had a charge of assaulting another woman by striking her on the head not proven.

There was another not proven verdict on a charge of sexual assault by seizing hold of another woman’s buttocks.

Inkster had previously admitted charges of possessing cocaine and ecstasy, with Sheriff Ian Cruickshank admonishing him on these.

He had denied all of the charges except for the drugs possession.

The trial heard from witnesses who spoke about an altercation outside the Royal British Legion venue on 29 October 2022 when they were on a night out.

The court was told that a group of friends, celebrating Halloween, were standing in a circle outside the venue when Inkster – who was also at the premises on a night out – approached them and made comments, including about sexuality.

Evidence was given in court that he touched woman’s bottom before her brother remonstrated with him – with Inkster said to have then punched the man before a scuffle ensued in what was described as a “stramash” and also like “cats fighting” as some of the others sought to break up the altercation.

One of the witnesses said she was going to phone the police but happened to notice officers driving past, who attended the scene quickly and caught up with Inkster down the road.

Inkster himself spoke from the witness stand and while he admitted making comments to the man and then grabbing him “by the scuff of the neck” after he moved towards him – causing them to fall over as they “threw each other to the ground” – he denied punching him on the head.

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Some of the charges were amended during the trial as a result of the evidence given.

As a result of the altercation, the other man was taken to hospital for treatment to a head wound, with one witness saying he fell against a wall.

The court also heard that one of the woman present suffered minor injuries.

In summing up, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said it was “clear that he [Inkster] was the only one being aggressive”.

He also said it was not realistic for four witnesses to come to court to conspire against him.

But Inkster’s defence agent Christopher Maitland said there were “significant differences” in accounts given about the incident which “calls into the question the reliability of witnesses”.

After considering the evidence, Sheriff Cruickshank found Inkster guilty of two of the charges which went to trial.

He was fined £400 for assaulting a man by punching him on the head and struggling with him, all to his injury.

The sheriff also imposed a £250 compensation order.

Inkster was also fined £400 for behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by uttering grossly offensive comments about sexuality.

With a victim surcharge of £40 added on top, the total financial penalty amounted to £1,090.

The court also heard that the drugs found in Inkster’s possession had a value of £80.

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