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Work order for Wick man who accidentally sprayed police officer with saliva

By Court Reporter

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A police officer was sprayed with saliva while arresting a Wick man who was awaiting the result of a Covid test, the town's sheriff court heard on Tuesday.

However, Steven Bruce's action was not deliberate, Sheriff Andrew Berry was told.

The 45-year-old, who appeared from prison via a video link, admitted threatening or abusive behaviour and was ordered to carry out 90 hours of unpaid community work. In fact, he told the court that he had already considered doing some voluntary work once he finished his current prison sentence.

Fiscal David Barclay said that police officers investigating a fire-raising incident in Glamis Road, Wick in the early hours of July 17 arrested Bruce.

The fiscal continued: "The accused was clearly upset by this and vehemently protested his innocence, insisting he had no connection with the fire-raising incident as he was elsewhere at the time. He continued shouting and swearing at the officers and repeatedly kicked the police vehicle."

Bruce's behaviour continued on the way to Wick Police Station and he again shouted at them in such a manner, there, that Constable Stephen George was sprayed with the accused's saliva.

Mr Barclay said: "Bruce immediately realised what he had done and indicated that he had Covid symptoms and was waiting for test results."

The fiscal went on to commend Constable George for his "fair assessment" of the situation, saying that Bruce's action was not intentional. "Had he meant to spray the officer, the accused might have been facing a potentially different charge."

Solicitor Patrick O'Dea said that Bruce, of Waverley Road, Wick, wished to apologise for his "unacceptable" behaviour. The accused's relationship had ended and he was trying to "look to the future" and was arranging housing when he finished his sentence on December 1.

Bruce also intended to address his drinking, which had been a factor in his committing offences.

He told Sheriff Berry that he intended to do some voluntary work once he left prison and was hoping to get help to repair some public benches.

Imposing a community-service sentence, the sheriff stressed it was a direct alternative to prison and warned Bruce that any breach of the order could attract a further period of imprisonment.

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