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Kyle of Lochalsh man who spat at police following series of offences is offered chance to avoid jail by Highland sheriff

By Ali Morrison

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Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald.
Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald.

A Kyle of Lochalsh man with a drug problem who spat at police in Inverness promised a sheriff he would go into rehabilitation to avoid a jail sentence.

Last month, Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald deferred sentence on Cornelius Stevenson (34) because she was concerned about his behaviour in Broadford and Burnett Road Police Station on May 23.

The offences came shortly after he had been released from prison for a similar spitting offence and Sheriff Macdonald wanted to know her options to try and stop him "creating havoc for himself and the community".

After hearing from defence solicitor Roger Webb and reading the report, the Sheriff placed Stevenson under supervision for two years with a review on April 25 to see if he stuck to his vow and co-operated with social workers.

If he hasn't, then the Sheriff promised he would receive a lengthy jail sentence instead.

She told him: "These are serious and appalling offences which could easily merit a lengthy jail sentence. But I also have to consider if there is a prospect of rehabilitation. I want you to stop behaving like this and society wants you to stop, so I am prepared to give you a chance to change your life and stop creating havoc in your community and your life."

Mr Webb told the court: "He has taken it upon himself to seek rehabilitation. He is not getting a free ride. He intends to stay with his sister who says he is more ready than ever before to make changes in his life.

"She has successfully been through the same rehabilitation programme. He says he wants to be the dad he should be and says he used to laugh at people in rehab. He now realises that they had their head screwed on.

"He is motivated to do it because he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life in prison." Mr Webb went on.

Stevenson, who was described as an Inverness prisoner but has Kyle and Portree connections, appeared previously at Inverness Sheriff Court and admitted six charges. They were the theft of a car, failing to provide details to police, refusing a blood sample on suspicion of drug-driving, and three assaults, which included two involving spitting.

Fiscal depute Martina Eastwood told the court that Stevenson had been involved in a road accident in a car he had stolen earlier in the early morning of May 23.

“He appeared to be heavily under the influence and spat at a police constable which landed in his eye,” she said.

Mrs Eastwood added that Stevenson managed to free one hand from handcuffs and bit another officer on the hand. He was taken to Inverness and again spat at officers in his cell and refused to provide a blood sample for analysis.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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