A man has appeared in court and admitted breaching Covid regulations by not wearing a mask – in what is understood to be the first conviction of its kind in Aberdeen.
David Patterson admitted breaching a requirement to wear a face-covering within Aberdeen Railway Station, in what the Crown Office confirmed was believed to be the first conviction in the city for not wearing a mask.
The 55-year-old was asked to leave Aberdeen Railway Station by staff over an unrelated matter, and police ended up being called.
And when officers asked why he wasn’t wearing a face covering, Patterson swore and began to shout “IRA, IRA”.
Fiscal depute Alan Townsend told Aberdeen Sheriff Court members of staff at the station heard a bang from the area of the travel centre at around 10am on January 19.
Patterson was seen on CCTV seemingly “talking to himself in a loud voice”.
Staff approached him and asked him to leave but he refused.
British Transport Police then attended and Patterson was “asked why he wasn’t wearing a face-covering”, in response to which he swore at officers.
Mr Townsend said Patterson then went on to shout and swear, saying “IRA, IRA” before being cautioned and arrested and replying: “Scotland, freedom.”
He also threatened to “smash” officers.
In addition to The Health Protection (coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations charge, Patterson also pled guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner.
He acted in an aggressive manner, refused to leave when asked, shouted, swore and made threats of violence towards police, made sectarian remarks and repeatedly spat within a police vehicle.
Patterson also admitted three shoplifting charges and breaching a bail order curfew.
Defence agent John McLeod said his client had been heavily intoxicated at the time and was remorseful for his actions.
He added: “He is receiving various forms of assistance.
“He has accepted responsibility for these offences at the first time of asking.”
Sheriff Margaret Hodge deferred sentence on Patterson, of Victoria Road, Torry, until March for reports.
Following the court hearing, Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary and north-east MSP Liam Kerr emphasised the importance of wearing masks.
He said: “This conviction is one which highlights the importance of following the rules to maintain public safety.
“Doing something small like putting on a face mask can help drastically reduce the spread of the virus, especially in places such as railway stations.
“This case is a good example of legislation being used when someone is potentially risking the wellbeing of others by not being cooperative with staff and the police.
“It’s completely unacceptable for them to be abused simply because they are trying to protect others.
“In different cases, it’s still important to remember some people have health reasons for not wearing a face covering and this must also be acknowledged.”