‘Hopeless drunk’ jailed after threats to police

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A drunken man who threatened to stab police and burn down their homes, was jailed for three months at Jedburgh Sheriff Court last Friday, with a stern warning from the sheriff that such behaviour would not be tolerated.

Twenty-eight-year-old James Ross subjected officers to a tirade of verbal obscenities, before challenging them to fight, in Dickson Street, on December 18 2010.

Ross, of High Street, evaded police for ten months before his arrest. He later apologized for his behaviour, saying he was “deeply sorry”.

At a previous hearing, procurator fiscal Morag McLintock explained how a warrant for the accused’s arrest was finally executed ten months later.

“Police on patrol were contacted by civilians and asked to attend at a house where he was, as they wished him removed,” explained Ms McLintock.

“He launched into a tirade of verbal obscenities towards police and then challenged them to fight.

“He was drunk and fell over, knocking over a wheelie bin,” she added, “but continued with his aggressive behaviour.

“He was given plenty of opportunities to walk away but he didn’t and was handcuffed.”

The fiscal told how Ross told officers he would stab them, while travelling in the police van. “He said their families were at risk, and that he intended to burn down their homes.”

Later, Ross told police he was “deeply sorry”.

He admitted committing a breach of the peace at Dickson Street, on December 18 2010 and uttering threats to two police officers at Hawick Police Station and in a police vehicle travelling from Dickson Street.

Defence solicitor Ross Dow said his client had been in custody since February 27, having previously moved away from the area and “buried his head in the sand.

“He suffered a serious assault and damage to his eyesight, became depressed, and started drinking,” said Mr Dow.

“He realizes this was unsavoury, distasteful conduct and in the cold light of day has said he was deeply sorry.

“The police tried to move him on and he started mouthing off at the officers,” continued Mr Dow, who suggested they had not taken his client’s threats seriously. “These were empty threats and I would be surprised if the police took them seriously,” said Mr Dow.

“He is more of a hopeless drunk than a violent criminal,” he added.

“I am not trying to say this is not a serious offence, but there is nothing to suggest that the police were unduly alarmed by his conduct,” concluded Mr Dow.

But Sheriff Donald Corke told the accused threatening police officers and their families would not be tolerated, and could only be dealt with by custody.

“This case arose from an incident in December 2010 and there was a lengthy delay due to a ten-month warrant for your arrest, after you fled justice,” he told Ross.

“This court will not tolerate personal threats to the safety of the police or their families.

“They are entitled to respect and safety, and there is no suitable disposal other than custody,” he concluded.

The three-month jail term was back-dated to February 27.