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Wick sheriff subjected to tirade of abuse by man who insisted 'jail me now'

By Court Reporter

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Sheriff Andrew Berry told Liam Long: 'I get the impression that you think you are some sort of tough guy.'
Sheriff Andrew Berry told Liam Long: 'I get the impression that you think you are some sort of tough guy.'

A Caithness man unleashed a tirade of abuse at a sheriff after being remanded.

It happened after Liam Long insisted on being jailed immediately, on the basis that he was going to end up behind bars eventually.

When Sheriff Andrew Berry informed the 25-year-old that this wasn’t going to happen, the accused replied: "I don’t give a f***” and subjected the sheriff to an abusive rant as he was being led from the dock by G4S security officers.

Long’s conduct was described by Sheriff Berry at Wick Sheriff Court on Wednesday as “outrageous and disgraceful”.

Long appeared earlier from custody and admitted a charge of threatening or abusive behaviour at the Tesco store in Thurso on Tuesday. The accused, who was released early from prison recently, leaving an unexpired part of a six-month term imposed for an unrelated offence, will be sentenced next month.

The court was told that Long appeared at the supermarket on Tuesday morning under the influence of alcohol and made a request to a store worker for cigarettes.

Fiscal David Barclay said that the worker asked for proof of his age. “Long seemed to be annoyed and there was a conversation in which he asked her if she knew who he was. He was agitated and irate and raised his fist and shouted and was causing something of a scene.

"Long was asked to leave the store and did so, but not immediately.”

Long stared in at a staff member from outside before re-entering the store and resumed the conversation “on much the same lines” as before. The duty store manager intervened.

Mr Barclay said: “She told Long that he was now banned from the store and would have to leave, which he refused to do. He attempted to impress her with his ‘credentials’, saying he had recently been in prison and was someone she should be frightened of."

He said it appeared to the staff that there were implicit threats against them and they felt intimidated while they were going about their day-to-day business. They reported him to the police.

Solicitor Fiona MacDonald said that Long had been drinking and had little recollection of events. She added that the accused had “no wish to return to jail” and appealed for a community-based sentence.

Sheriff Berry deplored Long’s behaviour in the store and told him: “I get the impression that you think you are some sort of tough guy.”

Long reacted badly when the sheriff informed him he would be remanded pending a background report and protested: "No, no, no... jail me now!”

Sheriff Berry told him: “You will go to the cells and will be put in a van and taken…”

Long interjected: “I don’t give a f***.”

The sheriff warned him: “I am going to take a careful note of your behaviour in the dock so I can take it into account when you return to court.”

Long continued to protest as he was led away by G4S officers.

Sheriff Berry returned to comments he had intended making prior to Long’s outburst.

He said: “Long clearly thinks he has a reputation to be envied because he has been in prison. He is clearly misguided if he thinks it impresses anyone, least of all me.”

The sheriff said that those serving the public in shops were entitled to the protection of the court, “insofar as that can be done”.

Long, of Moorside Avenue, Thurso, will be sentenced on February 23 after the sheriff considers a background report.

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