Man spared jail after spitting at barmaid

A MAN who spat at a barmaid in a Rothesay pub avoided jail when he appeared at the town’s sheriff court this week for sentencing on what his own solicitor called “a catalogue of offences” including assault, breach of the peace and being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug.

The court was told that 20-year-old Brian Watt had entered the Palace Bar in East Princes Street on October 24 and was immediately asked to leave.

Instead he made his way to the bar area and lifted a pint of lager before spitting at the barmaid, striking her on the chin and chest area as she tried to take the glass away.

As well as the charge of assault, Watt also admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, likely to cause fear or alarm, by shouting, swearing and engaging in a stand up fight in a common close next to the Palace Bar a short time later.

Police officers who had been called to deal with the incident in the pub, found Watt and another man fighting on the top landing of the close; after repeated instructions to stop fighting were ignored, one officer discharged his CS spray for between four and five-and-a-half seconds in order to break up the brawl.

Watt also admitted being in possession of a block of cannabis resin worth approximately £300 on July 26; his agent, Jim Hannay, said his client had been asked to carry the drug while travelling back to the island on the ferry from Wemyss Bay.

The other offences committed by Watt and dealt with by Sheriff John Rafferty on Monday were as follows:

* conducting himself in a disorderly manner, shouting, swearing and committing a breach of the peace in Roslin Crescent, Rothesay on April 4;

* conducting himself in a disorderly manner, behaving in an aggressive manner, kicking at metal shutters and committing a breach of the peace in High Street on May 23;

* on the same date, again in High Street, being in possession of a quantity of cannabis resin;

* conducting himself in a disorderly manner, shouting, swearing, spitting and committing a breach of the peace outside the town’s Esplanade Hotel on May 19.

Fiscal depute Nadine Dormer told the court that the Roslin Road offence had occurred after a dance at nearby Rothesay Golf Club, when Watt became aggressive after police spoke to him when he bumped into a woman at the exit of the premises.

The High Street offences were described by Mr Hannay as “a silly affair”; Watt, he said, barged at the shutters after becoming angry at something said to him by a group of other men, and a small amount of cannabis, with a value of £10, was found in his jacket after he was searched by police.

The offence at the Esplanade Hotel was committed after Watt walked past the hotel’s front door, saw a door steward inside and launched a foul-mouthed tirade at him before spitting on the window.

“The common theme going through all these incidents is that he was drunk,” Mr Hannay told the court.

“There certainly was a drink problem at the time of these offences, and he is happy to attend alcohol counselling.”

For the Palace Bar assault Watt was placed on probation for two years, ordered to do two hundred hours of unpaid community work, told to attend alcohol counselling whenever he was instructed to do so, and given six weeks to pay £200 in compensation to the barmaid he had spat upon.

Sheriff Rafferty said: “These are serious matters. I am told another sheriff has given you an opportunity not to go to jail if you stay out of trouble, [but] if you do not want to do probation I will deal with you in another way today.”

Sentence on all the other matters was deferred to enable the court to keep an eye on the progress of Watt’s probation order.