Our reporters have been sitting in courtrooms across the north-east this week and covered a wide variety of cases – from the art student who caused a bomb scare with his realistic piece of art to the top city hypnotherapist who was filmed carrying out a sex act in his parked car.
At the beginning of the week we reported on the disturbing case of a north-east dad who had been caught distributing indecent images of children online and discussing sickening abuse fantasies.
Scott Smollet used Snapchat to swap horrifying pictures of child sex abuse.
Children as young as three featured in his depraved stash of images, which included 22 files ranked as category A – the most serious.
The 45-year-old was caught when police received intelligence about indecent images of children being uploaded from his address in Kintore.
Oil firm fined £400,000 over North Sea gas leak
In the same court, an oil giant was fined £400,000 over safety failings which led to a gas leak on one of its North Sea platforms.
Apache Beryl admitted fault over the high-pressure gas release on the Beryl Alpha rig on June 2, 2014.
The court heard the firm failed to take appropriate measures to prevent fire and explosion and failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for how it handled the depressurisation of gas lift wells on the rig.
Noisy neighbour stabbed with sword
A noisy neighbour dispute was taken to extremes when the neighbour in question was stabbed with a sword.
Scott Sinclair admits he ‘overreacted’ when he grabbed the weapon and attacked his 41-year-old victim outside their flats in Aberdeen’s Ruthrieston Circle last August.
His victim was left with two gaping stab wounds and permanent scarring on his torso after the violent clash.
Supermarket worker sent sick video from toilets
On Monday, a supermarket worker who was sacked after sending a 13-year-old a sexual video from Morrisons toilets avoided a jail sentence.
Henry Cole sent sickening sexual messages, images and video to two different children on Snapchat.
He told one 13-year-old he wanted to have sex with her on the bonnet of his car, and sent her an explicit video of himself in the toilets of Morrisons supermarket in Peterhead, where he worked at the time.
Paedophile denies texts were sexually motivated
A paedophile who was caught sending explicit messages to what he thought was a 13-year-old girl denied there was a sexual motivation behind the texts.
Alistair Urquhart told the ‘girl’ he wanted to be naked with her during the conversation on WhatsApp and also that he wanted to kiss and cuddle her.
Urquhart’s target was actually a member of the Hampshire Predator Hunters – who confronted him at his work and called the police.
Inverness Sheriff Court was told 54-year-old bachelor Urquhart admitted the offence, which occurred between April 27, 2019 and June 3, 2019. It was committed in his home at Water Furrows and at a local bar.
Dealer ordered to pay back a fraction of £1.5m profits
Also on Monday, but this time at the High Court in Edinburgh, a dark web drug dealer agreed to pay back just £8,470 of his ill-gotten gains – even though he made more than £1.5 million from selling ecstasy from a flat in Aberdeen.
Scott Roddie, 29, was part of a significant drugs operation and was jailed for six years and three months earlier this year.
The Crown brought proceedings to seize crime profits from him and a judge at the High Court in Edinburgh was told that a settlement was reached in the action.
Drink-driving oil boss left trail of debris
On Tuesday, a drink-driving oil boss was caught after police followed a “trail of debris” from the scene of a crash all the way to his address.
Alexander Harper got behind the wheel in the early hours of the morning to go and buy cigarettes, having been boozing with a pal.
But the 47-year-old was spotted driving “erratically” by a taxi driver and smashing into the back of a parked car before driving off.
Murderers have jail terms cut
A man and a woman found guilty of murdering a Shetland mum have lost their conviction appeal – but have had their minimum jail terms cut.
However, Ross MacDougall and Dawn Smith, who were found guilty of murdering Tracy Walker in Lerwick, had the appeal against their conviction refused.
Lawyers for MacDougall, 33, and Smith,29, told judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal earlier this month the punishment part of the sentences imposed on the pair were too severe.
Teen slashed best friend ‘from nose to jaw’
On Tuesday, a 19-year-old woman was locked up for two alcohol and drug-fuelled attacks – including one where she slashed her best friend from nose to jaw with a knife.
Inverness Sheriff Court was told Caitlin Moth carried out the vicious attack on her pal in a row over a boyfriend who had been unfaithful.
The knife attack occurred just two months after she was released by police for another incident in which a girl was dragged screaming from her house and assaulted.
Drink-driver’s booze aisle shame
A drink-driver was so drunk that he wet himself in the drinks aisle while shopping for more booze.
Witnesses observed Ian Scott leaning backwards and struggling to walk as he stepped from his black Vauxhall Astra and into the shop on Bucksburn’s Sclattie Park.
Once inside he made his way to the drinks fridge and picked up two bottles of cider – and it was then that horrified staff spotted he was urinating on himself.
Toilet voyeur in the dock
A pervert slid his phone under a cubicle wall to “covertly” observe a man using the toilet.
Innes Skene went into a toilet block, which is shared by a number of businesses on Inverurie’s Keithhall Road, during the morning of May 24 and went into one of the cubicles.
A man in the neighbouring cubicle glanced down and noticed an iPhone being slid under the wall and pointing up at him.
Artist’s bomb project sparks major incident
One of the most unusual stories of the week called at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Wednesday.
An Aberdeen art student was branded “an idiot” by his own lawyer because a fake bomb he built for a class project caused a major police incident.
Alexander Campbell forgot to remove the “very good hoax device” from the basement of his flat when he moved out.
Several months later, when a new tenant had moved in, the artwork was discovered and the bomb squad called.
Drug dealers sold cocaine from luxury apartments
Two drug traffickers who were caught with £32,000 of cocaine and heroin at luxury apartments in Aberdeen were jailed on Wednesday.
Davanual Linton, 26, and Miguel Figueiredo-Mendes, 24, claimed that they had returned to the illicit trade because of debts over previous drugs busts.
Cuban-heeled domestic abuser
On Wednesday a man has admitted stamping on his girlfriend’s head with his Cuban heel boots.
Gary Hindley subjected his former partner to almost nine months of abuse, including pushing her to the ground, repeatedly punching her stomach and dragging her by the hair.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how the woman suffered a variety of injuries relating to incidents between June 2020 and February 2021.
Prolific shoplifter locked up
A serial thief who shoplifted “on an industrial scale” at businesses across the north-east was jailed on Wednesday.
Kyle Torliefson travelled across Aberdeenshire stealing bottles of top quality whisky, gin, champagne and perfumes in November 2020.
The 30-year old’s shoplifting spree cost businesses nearly £2,400 and none of the items have been recovered.
Schoolboys filmed hypnotherapist carrying out sex act
A top Aberdeen hypnotherapist was filmed carrying out a sex act on himself by two schoolboys, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told on Thursday.
The youngsters spotted Gary Sutherland – whose business Reset Hypnotherapy states he can help clients tackle addiction or bad habits – touching himself as they made their way home from Harlaw Academy last month.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how one of the teenagers noticed what the 59-year old was doing and captured video footage on his mobile phone.
Man accused of terrorism plot
Lawyers for an Aberdeen man accused of planning to carry out terrorist acts have to examine more than one million pages of documents, the High Court in Glasgow was told on Thursday.
Richard Smith is charged with the offences said to have occurred between August 2018 and November 2019 at different addresses in Aberdeen.
Prosecutors claim the 28-year-old “with the intention of carrying out acts of terrorism” did “engage in conduct” in the preparation of them.
Three men have appeared in court after cops carried out a series of raids across Aberdeen.
The Evening Express and Press and Journal were given exclusive access to the early-morning raids – as part of Operation Makeshift – which involved a 40-strong team of officers.
More than £30,000 of Class A drugs were recovered during the course of the six-month intelligence-led operation.