Man receives fine for pointing air-gun at police officers

A ROTHESAY man received an £800 fine at the town’s sheriff court on Monday after being found guilty of pointing an air-gun at two police officers.

James Clifford Thomson (60), address given as Flat 1-2, 86 High Street, Rothesay, had denied pointing a loaded air-gun at Sergeant Paul Miller and Constable Nicholas Beattie when they attended his flat on June 12, 2010.

The two officers said in evidence that they had pressed the buzzer to Thomson’s flat and Sgt Miller told him: “It’s the police, let us in please.” They were duly granted access.

Thomson opened the door to the officers when they knocked, and Thomson was pointing an air-gun (although they did not know the type of weapon at the time) towards both men.

Within seconds he lowered the gun to his side and then behind his back. After restraining Thomson and taking the gun from him, Sgt Miller asked why he had the weapon, to which he said Thomson replied: “It’s for shooting vermin.”

Back at the police office, Constable Beattie asked Thomson to explain the situation, to which Thomson replied, “I thought someone was coming to stab me.” Thomson also said: “If I’d known it was you [the police] I wouldn’t have let you in.”

Prosectutor Lindy Scaife asked Thomson why, if he believed it was someone coming to stab him, he opened his door. Thomson said, “I wanted to get it over and done with. I was taking the fight to the enemy.”

It was put to Thomson that he already knew who was coming to see him, as the police had stated who it was when they pressed his flat buzzer. Thomson replied, “They only said ‘Let us in’. They didn’t say it was the police.”

During the trial, Thomson repeatedly said, “Why would any sensible person open the door with an air-gun in their hand when they knew it was the police?” Ms Scaife replied: “Well, I put it to you, why would any sensible person allow someone access to their building and open their flat door to them if they thought they were going to stab them?”

Sheriff Reid told Thomson: “I do not accept the evidence you’ve given today. This is a very, very serious matter.

“Given your age, your health and lack of record, I will impose a large fine today of £800.”