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Man is jailed for coughing in police officers' faces in Highland capital

By Ali Morrison

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The case was heard by Sheriff Sara Matheson.
The case was heard by Sheriff Sara Matheson.

A 48-year-old is believed to have become the first man in Scotland to be jailed for endangering police lives by coughing in officers' faces.

Iain Lindsay, described as an Inverness prisoner, appeared before Sheriff Sara Matheson at Inverness Sheriff Court and admitted assaulting two police constables by coughing in their faces to the danger of their lives.

The offence took place at the charge bar of Burnett Road Police Station in Inverness on April 15.

A Crown Office spokesman said that Lindsay was one of around 300 people in the country to be charged with offences of coughing or spitting at police.

Lindsay's defence solicitor Graham Mann said he understood that although there were a lot of cases pending, his client was the first in Scotland to be sentenced.

Fiscal depute David Morton said: "Officers arrested Lindsay due to an alleged incident which occurred at his home. He was taken to Burnett Road Police Station, Inverness arriving around 9pm, to the custody suite.

"While being ‘booked in’ at the police station charge bar, he was flanked by two officers – one either side of him – as per usual practice. He was asked various routine questions about his legal rights and welfare by the custody suite staff.

"During the course of the booking-in process Mr Lindsay turned towards one police constable and coughed once in his face. He then immediately turned to the other constable and coughed once in his face.

"Although was he not displaying any Covid-19 related symptoms – particularly in the present climate – this caused both the officers, and those with whom they live, significant alarm and distress."

Mr Mann said his client, who admitted a long list of previous convictions, was drunk but that it was no excuse and "unacceptable behaviour. He does not have Covid-19 and the police involved have not had symptoms".

Lindsay, who is from Inverness, was jailed for four months, backdated to April 16.

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