Prosecutors have succeeded in a bid to increase the prison sentence given to a north man jailed for spitting on two police officers during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Crown lawyers believed the four month sentence given earlier this year to Iain Lindsay, 48, was too lenient.
Sheriff Sara Matheson gave him a custodial term after hearing how he assaulted the officers after he had been taken to a police station on April 15 in connection with another incident.
Last week, prosecution lawyer Alex Prentice QC told appeal judges Lady Dorrian, Lord Glennie and Lord Turnbull that Lindsay should have been given a longer sentence.
He said that Lindsay had a lengthy criminal record and that Sheriff Matheson should have taken that into account before imposing the sentence.
In a written judgement issued yesterday, the appeal judges agreed with Mr Prentice and increased the sentence to 10 months.
In the judgement, Lady Dorrian, Scotland’s second most senior judge, also revealed that as of April 29, 827 Police Scotland employees had been tested for Covid-19 and that 163 of them had been found to be suffering from the disease.
She wrote: “In our opinion the sentence as a generality meets the test of undue leniency.
“The respondent has an appalling record and, apart from referring to it as a ‘bad record’, the sheriff gives no indication that she really took this into account and reflected it in the sentence which she imposed.
“The respondent’s record runs to 11 pages.
“He has appeared on complaint well over a 100 times, on over 170 charges, as well as appearing on indictment for assault.
“The sheriff took into account that the offence was not planned, but failed to recognise that the actions were nonetheless deliberate and designed to cause significant fear and alarm.
“Although the respondent was not displaying any symptoms the terms of Government medical advice issued is well known: a person can have Covid-19 and transmit it without displaying any symptoms.
“The respondent’s conduct displayed an utter disregard for others. His actions were not conducive to maintaining a relatively low level of infection in the locality.”
During proceedings at Inverness Sheriff Court earlier this year, the court heard how as Lindsay was being asked routine questions, he turned towards one officer and coughed once in his face. He then turned to another officer and also coughed in his face.
Although Lindsay wasn’t displaying any symptoms, the incident caused the officers and their families “significant alarm and distress”.