A sheriff has slammed those who attack emergency workers as he jailed an Aberdeenshire man who broke a police officer’s leg.
Sheriff Timothy Niven-Smith said he was “flabbergasted and shocked” by the number of people passing through court after abusing police.
The sheriff said: “Despite routinely making comments, the message does not appear to be transcending down to the masses.”
He said it could be down to lack of local reporting, lack of people in prison spreading the word or a genuine misunderstanding in the community that emergency workers are “fair game to be abused”.
He said, if that is the case, “they are seriously wrong”.
The sheriff, sitting at court in Kirkcaldy, said he considers the issue in Fife at “epidemic levels”.
Spat in officer’s eye
Sheriff Niven-Smith spoke out as he jailed Aberdeenshire man Brian Lindsay for 396 days – 13-and-a-half months.
Lindsay, 31, previously pled guilty to culpably and recklessly pushing and struggling with a male constable in Market Street, Brechin, in the early hours of November 9 2021.
He pushed the officer to the ground and landed on top of him to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement.
Officers had been responding to an alcohol-fuelled disturbance involving Lindsay and his brother, the court heard.
Lindsay, of North Street, Strichen, also admitted assaulting a female constable by spitting in her eye.
Sheriff Niven-Smith accepted Lindsay had not intended to harm the male officer but a “substantial amount of harm” was caused and a police officer has been left “permanently impaired for the rest of their life”.
The sheriff also referred to the spitting in the female constable’s eye as a “despicable form of assault,” particularly if the victim does not know about any blood-borne viruses and has to spend days or months in anguish awaiting the results of medical tests.
The sheriff said the prison term “will hopefully deter you from future criminality and deter others in the community from acting in a wholly inappropriate manner towards emergency workers.”
‘Disgusted’ and remorseful
Lindsay also pled guilty to a third charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner while in a police vehicle en route from Market Street to the police divisional HQ in Dundee.
He repeatedly shouted, swore, made abusive remarks towards officers, uttered violent threats, kicked and struck the cell door, and made derogatory remarks towards the same female constable he spat on.
Defence lawyer David Bell said his client has a limited criminal history and has not offended in the two years since these events.
The lawyer said his client is “disgusted” and remorseful for his actions but his arguments against a custodial sentence were unsuccessful.