Home   News   Article

No jail for man who admitted serious sex assault in Thurso bar

By Court Reporter

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

A man who carried out a serious sexual assault on a woman in a Thurso pub and boasted about it soon after has narrowly avoided a jail sentence.

Michael Foubister (45) was instead ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid community work. He will also pay his victim, said to have been distressed and in tears after the incident, compensation of £2000.

The assault, which the accused admitted on indictment, occurred at Thurso's Commercial Bar, on October 29, 2022.

Wick Sheriff Court.
Wick Sheriff Court.

Wick Sheriff Court heard that the woman – known only as Miss X – had initially gone to a birthday party in Wick, dressed in fancy dress for Halloween weekend.

She later ended up at the Commercial Bar with two friends and they sat at a table.

Foubister was sitting next to her when he assaulted her.

Fiscal David Barclay said that a witness, seated opposite, saw Foubister's hand move towards Miss X's leg but couldn't see how the assault progressed because of the position of the table.

The accused was overheard remarking on what he had done.

Mr Barclay said that after the incident, the victim approached a former teacher at a nearby table.

He continued: "Miss X complained that she had been bothered by the accused but did not expand further then. The former teacher took the woman outside when she revealed what had gone on."

The victim was described as "very distressed", "shaky" and "crying".

Miss X didn't know Foubister but identified him from CCTV footage which showed he had been in the bar at the time.

When interviewed by police officers, Foubister, of The Yard, Hallum Road, Forss, admitted: "Yes, it was me, I thought it was consensual."

During a further interview under caution, however, he repeated a "no comment" response to additional questions.

Fiona MacDonald appealed to Sheriff Neil Wilson not to impose a custodial sentence and to consider unpaid community work as a direct alternative.

The solicitor continued: "Mr Foubister has great difficulty in understanding his behaviour on the night in question."

Sheriff Wilson, who saw a background report and a victim statement, told the accused that he had pleaded guilty to "a very serious matter".

Sheriff Wilson said he also took into account that Foubister was remorseful, along with his relative lack of previous offending, and added: "I am persuaded, only just, that prison would not be appropriate."

Referring to a good conduct element in the sentence imposed, the sheriff warned Foubister, who will be under supervision: "If you breach the order in any way, the case will be recalled and I will have no hesitation in sending you to prison."

Foubister will be placed on the sex offenders' register for three years. He will pay the compensation at the rate of £100 a month.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More