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Abuser avoids jail term after threats to ex partner

By Court Reporter

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A man who threatened his former partner a few months after he tried to frighten a potential witness has avoided prison “by the thinnest of margins”.

But Mark Falconer will have to carry out a total of 270 hours of unpaid work and will be under supervision for 18 months.

Sheriff Andrew Berry also made the 34-year-old subject to a non-harassment order banning him from having contact with Nicola Swanson for two years.

The sentences were imposed at Wick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Sheriff Andrew Berry.
Sheriff Andrew Berry.

Falconer previously admitted having behaved in a threatening or abusive manner towards Ms Swanson and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The trouble started when she called at the accused’s home at The Forge, Reiss, on October 14, last year, in connection with a family arrangement. CCTV footage of the ensuing incident showed Falconer advancing towards Ms Swanson outside the house.

Fiscal depute, Martina Eastwood, said that Ms Swanson was seen to fall backward. The fiscal went on: “Falconer leaned over her with a clenched fist and threatened her.”

Miss Eastwood went on to describe an incident earlier the same year, on May 7.

Store worker Mark MacDougall, who was due to give evidence against Falconer, was walking towards his car having finished his shift at the Tesco store in Wick.

Mr MacDougall observed a car being driven slowly towards him by the accused who then accelerated harshly and then swerved sharply past him.

Mr MacDougall was ‘shaken’ and reported the incident to the police.

Sheriff Berry, who saw a background report, said that unfortunately Falconer did not recognise the seriousness of his actions.

The sheriff continued: “It is typical of domestic abusers that they feel a sense of self-righteous entitlement when they realise they are no longer in control of a relationship and they feel frightened by that.”

The sheriff said that Falconer was unwilling to address clear issues he had in respect of domestic abuse and was someone who “didn’t appear to understand the gravity of his actions”.

Falconer was also made subject to a non-harassment order banning him from contacting Mr MacDougall for two years.

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