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Jail for Maryburgh man who broke unpaid work pledge after spitting at and racially abusing police officers

By Ali Morrison

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Darren Kennedy.
Darren Kennedy.

An Easter Ross man who recklessly spat at a police officer and racially abused another is back in prison after being jailed for nine months for failing to keep a promise to do unpaid hours of work in the community.

Last December, Darren Kennedy (29) had just been released from a two-year prison sentence for another violent crime.

And on May 30, when he appeared before Sheriff Gary Aitken on the offences against the police, he escaped another jail sentence.

Sheriff Gary Aitken had made clear that Kennedy would be jailed if he failed to keep up his end of the bargain after a previous court appearance.
Sheriff Gary Aitken had made clear that Kennedy would be jailed if he failed to keep up his end of the bargain after a previous court appearance.

As an alternative to custody, Sheriff Gary Aitken ordered Kennedy to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work and remain under two years of social work supervision.

But he gave Kennedy of Seaforth Place, Maryburgh a stern warning that he would be jailed if he failed to comply with every aspect of the order.

The sheriff told him: "Your last conviction got you two years' imprisonment. Very shortly after you were released, you got involved in more violent conduct.

"This is your final chance. I am told that the penny has dropped. You either sort out your life or you will spend the rest of your life in and out of jail."

Kennedy had admitted threatening or abusive behaviour, racially aggravated conduct, assault and culpable and reckless conduct.

However Kennedy, who is on remand for another matter, appeared before the same sheriff and admitted breaching the order that was imposed.

Defence solicitor Natalie Paterson told the court that her client had done about a third of the hours and had failed to keep appointments with social workers.

Sheriff Aitken revoked the order and imposed the alternative of custody.

An earlier court heard that the original offences involved Kennedy telling a policeman “Go back to your country” then he assaulted him before spitting in another officer’s face.

Police had been called after Darren Kennedy, while he was visiting a friend in Fingal Road, Dingwall, tried to fight a neighbour who had asked him twice to keep the noise down on December 17, 2022.

At 2.25am the following day officers attended and Kennedy was arrested and taken in a police vehicle to Burnett Road Police Station.

During the journey, Kennedy made a racial remark to one of the officers stating: “You are Polish, go back to your country.”

Kennedy also told the officer that “he did not wish to be held by him as he was Polish”.

He was placed in a cell and he attempted to kick and bite the officer.

Kennedy then approached a second officer and shouted in such a way that spittle landed on the policeman’s face.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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