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'Stop feeling sorry for yourself' sheriff warns offender after latest appearance at Wick Sheriff Court

By Court Reporter

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A repeat offender whose life was said to have been “on a downward spiral” for the past two years has been urged to man-up.

The advice was handed out to Steven Bruce by Sheriff Andrew Berry, who told him to stop feeling sorry for himself and start to turn his life around.

Failure to do so would result in recurring spells in prison, the sheriff warned.

Bruce’s latest appearance at Wick Sheriff Court, on Wednesday, involved a charge of failing to comply with a bail condition – not to enter the town's Glamis Road – on February 11. The 44-year-old pleaded guilty at a previous hearing and the case was continued for a background report.

The court heard that Bruce had recently been released from prison on licence, having been jailed for eight months for an assault, and is due to start 75 hours unpaid work with supervision, imposed for having been in possession of a knuckle-duster.

Solicitor Fiona MacDonald asked Sheriff Berry to step back from imposing a custodial sentence. She said that the accused was a plate-welder who hoped to acquire a final qualification that could open the door to employment in the local wind farm industry.

Sheriff Andrew Berry.
Sheriff Andrew Berry.

Miss MacDonald appealed to the sheriff to give Bruce the opportunity to “turn his life around”.

Sheriff Berry, who saw a background report, told Bruce, of Waverley Road, Wick, to “listen carefully”.

He told the accused: “Your life has been in a downward spiral over the past couple of years. You say that is the fault of other members of your family, a real bad luck story. So far as I can make out, there is no truth in that whatsoever.”

The sheriff said that 72 hours after being released from prison, Bruce was back in custody and went on: “It is entirely up to you if you want to spend the rest of your life treating prison as a revolving door.”

Sheriff Berry concluded: “Have I spelled it out?”

Bruce replied: “Clearly, yes”.

The sheriff told him: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself. I hope you get work and a housing tenancy and get on with your life.”

The case was continued until June 2 when the sheriff will consider a supplementary background report and expect to hear that the accused has stayed out of trouble.

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