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Weekend court roll – our round-up of the most-read cases of the week

Our reporters have been sitting in courtrooms across the north and north-east this week and covered a wide variety of cases.

Ex-squaddie battered man with snow shovel

A former soldier has been found guilty of battering an Inverurie man with a snow shovel.

Kristopher Knight was on trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court facing allegations that he rained down repeated blows on his 39-year old victim following an argument in a garden on Polinar Place, Inverurie, last year.

Kristopher Knight leaves Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The court heard how ex-serviceman Knight picked up the shovel struck his victim multiple times on July 18, 2020 – resulting in a broken arm, fractured elbow and badly injured eye socket.

It took the jury less than two hours to find the 26-year-old guilty by majority of assault to severe injury with a weapon.

Activists ordered to pay compensation to rescuers

On Monday, a group of Extinction Rebellion activists who occupied an oil rig at the Port of Dundee were ordered to pay compensation to the RNLI.

Police, coastguard and Forth Ports incurred £30,000 worth of costs as a result of the group’s actions on the Valaris rig’s 300ft platform in January last year.

Extinction Rebellion protesters, from left, Joanne Venables, Federico Pastoris, Fiona Cormie, Alison Orr, Marco Tenconi, Guy Bowen and Mark Quinn.

The activists were hoping to stop the rig leaving the port to carry out work in the North Sea for Shell.

Federico Pastoris, 26, Marco Tenconi, 25, Guy Bowen, 33, Mark Quinn, 23, Fiona Cormie, 27, Joanne Venables, 37 and Alison Orr, 29, all previously pled guilty to committing a breach of the peace at Dundee Sheriff Court.

Dealer’s life of crime earned him £51,000

A drug dealer who was arrested during a police probe into a serious crime gang made tens of thousands of pounds from his life of crime, a judge has heard.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Robert Burns, 28, made a total of £51,485 during his career as a criminal in the Aberdeen area.

Jed Duncan has appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh

But Judge Lord Fairley heard how prosecutors who brought a proceeds of crime action against Burns can only recover £5,655 from him at this point in time.

Burns, also of Aberdeen, was jailed for four years and eight months at the High Court in Edinburgh in March 2021.

Man kept seagull in cage

A man who was found wandering the streets with an injured seagull in a plastic bag kept another in a cage on top of his freezer, a court has heard.

Bryan Maclennan used a slingshot to disable the birds then took them and their eggs home, Tain Sheriff Court was told.

Bryan Maclennan outside Tain Sheriff Court

His actions – which were described by a sheriff as “either peculiar or sinister” – were discovered after he was spotted acting suspiciously in Invergordon.

When police stopped the 34-year-old they discovered the injured bird in a plastic bag as well as ball bearings and slingshots.

Perv spared jail

A pervert who encouraged a paedophile hunter posing online as a 13-year-old girl to watch pornography has been spared jail.

Andrew Tinsley sent the ‘child’ sexual images and “encouraged” her to look at pornography and said: “You’re just 13. It’s wrong.”.

Andrew Tinsley

When police eventually arrested him, he told cops he was drunk and admitted sending images that “a girl of that age shouldnae be looking at”.

Tinsley, 37, pled guilty to a charge of attempting to communicate indecently with a 13-year-old child and attempting to cause them to view sexual images, when he appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court last month.

Drugs hidden in armpit

A drug dealer caught with £4,000 worth of cocaine and heroin in Peterhead has been jailed for more than one year.

Neil McAdam had more than 150 individual plastic packages of Class A drugs on him as well as £1,000 in cash when he was found in King Street on February 25, last year.

The Liverpudlian was stopped and searched by police after officers spotted a group of people “loitering” at the rear of a King Street block of flats.

Fiscal depute Lucy Simpson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “Due to recent intelligence relating to the supply of controlled drugs from there, the constables entered the building and made their way to the top floor.”

Cops injured in bite attacks

A police officer has been left needing Hepatitis B and Tetanus booster jabs as well as ongoing blood tests after a vicious biting attack during a routine check.

Patryk Pogodzinksi drew blood by biting a police officer after he resisted arrest for breaching his bail conditions.

Patryk Pogodzinski at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

He’s now back behind bars but admitted two charges of assault to injury and another of assault, as well as a breach of bail.

The 26-year-old has been held in HMP Grampian since his attack on police officers in Aberdeen’s Seaton Road on August 27.

Ancient cairn destroyed – for a shed

On Tuesday, a farmer was fined £18,000 after destroying a historic cairn dating back 4,000 years – because he wanted to build a new shed.

Duncan MacInnes used the earth from Upper Tote Cairn in the north of Skye as topsoil to help with the building project elsewhere on his land.

Skye farmer Duncan MacInnes destroyed the Upper Tote Cairn

The 59-year-old pled guilty to damaging the protected monument when he appeared at Portree Sheriff Court on August 25. Today he was fined £18,000.

MacInnes owns the land next to the A855 near Upper Tote on Skye where the Upper Tote Cairn stands.

Highlands road trip for car thief

A man with a lifetime driving ban helped himself to vehicles to travel around the Highlands following a row with his girlfriend.

Andrew Ridsdale,  48, first targeted a vehicle parked outside the home of a good Samaritan in Lochaline on the west coast.

Andrew Ridsdale stole cars and took them for a jaunt around the Highlands

He was returning an empty flask they had used to make him tea after hearing he was sleeping rough.

He drove that vehicle as far as Drumnadrochit, by Loch Ness, where he abandoned it in a restaurant car park.

Young mum died after police chase

A young mum who died from a heart attack after a police car chase in Aberdeenshire had inhaled butane gas earlier in the day, an inquiry has been told.

Shania Collins, from Peterhead, had been arrested and placed in handcuffs just moments before she lost consciousness in the driveway of a property near Mintlaw.

Shania Collins was pronounced dead at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

The 19-year-old was seen to “give up” and offer her hands to be cuffed before passing out on the ground at Pitscow Croft, near Kininmonth, at around 11.55am on December 22, last year.

A fatal accident inquiry has heard how she was intoxicated having inhaled butane gas – which can be used for lighter fluid – earlier that morning.

Teen found with knife after street fight

An Aberdeen teenager has avoided custody after he fled from police with a knife in his hand during a street fight.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Cameron Fraser, 18, got involved in a fight outside his mum’s house in Torry after a group of males followed him home from the pub.

Cameron Fraser

Dad-of-one Fraser went out to challenge the group carrying a blade and a fight ensued.

As police turned up, the group scattered and the teenager was seen sprinting across the street with a knife in his hands.

Disqualified driver jailed

A disqualified motorist has been imprisoned and banned from driving for two years after being caught behind the wheel without insurance for the NINTH time.

Shaun Geddes, 44, was serving out a 13-month ban when he was stopped by police while driving a van on the A947 between Oldmeldrum and Newmachar on August 12 this year.

Shaun Geddes appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court

A search of the vehicle also found £50 of heroin under the driver’s seat.

It was the ninth time Geddes, of Gardenstown, had been caught driving without proper insurance.

Egg thrower branded ‘extraordinarily reckless’

On Wednesday, a lout who threw eggs at cars on a busy dual carriageway was ordered to pay compensation after causing £1,000 worth of damage.

Archie Andrade’s actions were described as “extraordinarily reckless” and could have caused injury or death.

Archie Andrade threw eggs as passing vehicles on the AWPR. Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The 22-year-old pelted two cars with eggs as they travelled at speeds of up to 70mph on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that both vehicles had children on board.

Pair accused of attempted murder

Two people have appeared in court charged with attempted murder after a man was found injured in the stairwell of an Aberdeen high-rise.

A 30-year-old man was found injured within the stairwell of Greig Court on Gerrard Street at around 11am on Monday, December 6.

Police Scotland outside Greig Court.

He was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to receive treatment for serious injuries.

And now Amanda Duncan, 29, and Sandy Mundie, 35, have appeared in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in connection with the matter.

Dumbbell attack

A yob who attacked his friend with a dumbbell bar – and stabbed him four times – during a row over a rucksack has been jailed for three years.

Leyton Davies, 23, admitted attacking the man at an address on Don Street, Old Aberdeen, on August 9 last year.

The incident happened on Don Street, Old Aberdeen.

The row ended with Davies striking the man on the head before repeatedly plunging a knife into his leg.

Davies previously admitted a charge of assault to injury and permanent disfigurement, while acting with another, over the attack, as well as possession of the metal bar and knife.

Tea assault on girlfriend

A man who threw a cup of tea in his girlfriend’s face has been jailed after he became angry about whether there was sugar in the drink.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Dane Bower’s mood immediately changed upon being handed the mug by his long-term partner.

Dane Bower threw hot tea into his girlfriend’s face.

The 35-year-old then turned to her and asked: “Is there sugar in this?”

Bower then threw the beverage into the woman face, covering her head and hair.

Man headbutted girlfriend

A boozed-up thug who headbutted his girlfriend when she threw his takeaway food on the ground has been ordered to pay a fine.

Buckie man Lucius Jan, 20, attacked his girlfriend after an all-day drinking session in Aberdeen on October 10 this year.

Lucius Jan admitted head-butting his girlfriend on King Street, Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard he then assaulted a member of the public who witnessed the head-butt and tried to help the woman.

Jan, a seasonal worker, admitted one charge of assaulting the woman on King Street.

Bus crash victim loses legal case

On Thursday an Aberdeen football coach who was critically injured in a horrific bus crash while on holiday learned he had failed in his bid to bring court action against a Maltese roads authority.

Simon Morrison was left in an induced coma after the sightseeing bus he was travelling on collided with overhanging tree branches in April 2018.

Simon Morrison, inset, was seriously injured in the Malta bus crash.

Two people died in the tragedy and now lawyers acting for Transport for Malta have successfully argued that it shouldn’t be made to defend compensation actions brought about by Mr Morrison.

The then 42-year-old Middlefield Wasps football coach was just one day into his holiday with his sister Suzanne Henderson, her husband Michael and their two children when the accident happened.

They had taken a sightseeing trip on an open-top bus but tragedy struck when the double-decker smashed through overhanging tree branches on a tourist route in the Zurrieq area.

Housebreaker’s terrible excuse for breaking in

A yob who was seen booting the door of an Aberdeen flat and throwing a brick at a window told a witness he’d just locked himself out.

Wojciech Mularewicz clambered into the flat through a window and escaped with hundreds of pounds worth of electronics, cash and a gold necklace of sentimental value.

But despite his brazen bluff to try and fool the eyewitness, the 31-year-old was caught after his DNA was found on an eight-inch knife he left at the scene.

Fiscal depute Lucy Simpson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the occupant of the flat, who had previously been friends with, had left at 9.15am on May 14 2020 and secured the Marischal Street property.

Man in court over prison murder bid

A man has appeared in court for a second time charged with attempted murder following an incident at HMP Grampian.

Police were made aware of an incident at the Peterhead superjail early on the morning of December 6 in which a 30-year-old male prisoner suffered “serious injuries”.

Matthew Duncan, 24, has now appeared in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for a second time over the matter charged with attempted murder.

Duncan, of Peterhead, made no plea during the hearing and was remanded in custody while the case against him was fully committed.

A co-accused, Paul Seivwright, 43, also appeared facing only a charge of assault.

Teen suffocated in quad tragedy

A Ross-shire teenager suffocated to death after crashing his quad bike, trapping him underneath the heavy machine.

But the cause of the accident which killed 18-year-old Adam Reid on February 21 2020 remains a mystery despite a fatal accident inquiry, presided over by Sheriff Gary Aitken.

Adam Reid, 18, from the Muir of Ord area, tragically lost his life in a quad biking crash.

Much of the evidence, presented by fiscal depute Roderick Urquhart, was agreed before the hearing took place at Inverness Justice Centre.

Sheriff Aitken issued his determination in writing but was unable to make any recommendations.

Drug dealers broke Covid travel rules

Two men were caught involved in a drug deal after a 40-mile car journey broke Covid rules.

Stuart Kelly, 43, and Daniel Pratt, 40, were caught on March 5 this year in Aberdeen city centre in a Volkswagen Golf registered to an address in Fraserburgh.

Prosecutor Chris Fyffe told the High Court in Glasgow: “Police stopped the vehicle to find out the purposes of the journey which was during Covid-19 restrictions.”

Passenger Kelly was clocked throwing a bag into the back seat.

Stun gun attack on woman

On Friday an Aberdeen delivery driver who repeatedly jolted his wife with a stun gun as she stood making a birthday cake was remanded in custody.

Slawomir Buczynski flew into a rage at the mention of a male ex-work colleague and fired the illegal weapon seven times into his partner’s body.

When the burly 37-year-old’s wife slumped to the ground in agony he kicked her as she lay stricken on the floor, the High Court in Glasgow was told.

Police were alerted after neighbours could hear the victim’s loud screams.

Hearing into alleged double murder

The circumstances of an alleged double murder will be examined by a judge after the suspect was deemed unfit for trial.

David Sinders is charged with killing Gary MacKay, 35, and Dwayne MacLeay, 28, at a house in Inverness on May 28 2020.

It is claimed the 24-year-old repeatedly stabbed the pair on the body with a knife.

Sinders – originally from Latvia – also allegedly attempted to murder Kimberley Nicholson, 27, with a blade at the same property on that date.

Dons fan headbutted Pittodrie steward

A Dons fan has been fined after headbutting a Pittodrie steward who tried to stop him leaving a match early through a fire exit.

Alexander Noble was among a crowd of disappointed Dandies streaming out of Pittodrie early during Aberdeen’s 3-1 home defeat to FK Qarabag on August 26.

Alexander Noble.

But the 65-year-old tried to leave through an emergency exit, and when the steward manning it tried to stop him, Noble headbutted him.

Police had earlier released a CCTV image of Noble in abid to trace him in relation to the incident.

Drunk yob spat in cop’s eye

A “vile” thug has been jailed after he spat in the eye of a female police officer – forcing her to now have regular blood tests for infectious diseases.

David McEwan, 36, was arrested for throwing a bottle of wine at a Tesco Express worker on September 15 this year and was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by police due to his level of intoxication.

David McEwan.

However, once his handcuffs were removed at the hospital he became hostile towards doctors and threw a tube that was covered in blood and saliva at a female police officer.

As she attempted to restrain McEwan on the bed he then spat directly into her eye.

The officer now requires regular blood tests for the next six months due to the risk of infectious disease.

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