Courts in Tayside and Fife saw plenty of action in 2019, with Dundee sheriffs on the bench Monday to Friday every week.
The criminal justice system is a cornerstone of our society, from the police, procurator fiscal service, solicitors, court officials and sheriffs all working together to keep society safe.
Despite proceedings being harrowing, traumatic or tragic for some, there have been some cases over the past year which have left the Tele newsroom slightly confused, bemused – or in some instances amused.
Here are nine of the bizarre, unique or humorous tales from the docks in local courtrooms in 2019.
“I have done nothing wrong except for being awesome”
A woman who injured a man with a glass bottle told police the only crime she committed was “being awesome”.
Roisin Smith threw the bottle which injured a man during a raucous party on Stirling Street last September, telling police: “I have done nothing wrong except for being awesome,” when she was arrested.
The man suffered no lasting injuries, the court heard.
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown didn’t share the view that Ms Smith’s actions were “awesome”, and deferred sentence for reports after she pleaded guilty to culpably and recklessly throwing a glass bottle.
Man literally tries to escape justice by attempting to flee the dock
The Clash famously sung “I fought the law but the law won” in their 1978 hit single.
One Dundee criminal tried to flee the law – but again the law won.
Daniel Ferrara attempted to break free from a court security officer while in the dock and run up a set of stairs to escape from court proceedings
He was given unpaid work and a restriction of liberty order for his bizarre escape attempt.
Kissing in the dock on affray…..
It’s not often the courtroom is a scene of romance, however, in September, a hell-raising couple who had caused “mayhem” for their part in a wild brawl in the middle of Hilltown were warned by Sheriff Alastair Brown for kissing in the dock.
Hector Duncan, 50, and his estranged wife, Christine Duncan, 49, incurred the ire of Sheriff Alastair Brown after they were seen kissing in the dock.
After they locked lips, Sheriff Brown snapped: “That’s quite enough.”
Perhaps their fate was sealed with a kiss as they were sentenced to 23 weeks each in jail.
Drug dealer thought he had a Monopoly on dealing in city, when £90k of cocaine was discovered in a board game.
Drugs are no laughing matter, and Dundee has among the worst substance misuse death rates in Europe.
In one unusual case, a dealer spreading misery in the City of Discovery was caught with almost £90,000 worth of cocaine inside a board game.
Dale Pearson, 27, was rumbled after a package intended for an address in the city was intercepted by the UK Border Force in Coventry.
Pearson admitted fronting a huge drug operation that also included supplying Class B and Class C drugs through the Royal Mail, including selling the drugs diazepam and ketamine.
He was sentenced to five years in jail.
Fowl play leads to fine for gull gunman who fended off fish-feasting bird
A man shot a wild bird dead as a “last resort” because it kept on stealing his fish.
John Deas then picked up the herring gull in front of a shocked neighbour and said: “You won’t be eating my fish again.”
Deas had been in a long-running battle with the bird as he tried to protect fish stocks at his rural property near Anstruther, Fife.
At one point he had erected a scarecrow in a bid to get rid of the bird – but that proved ineffective, so as a “last resort” he blasted the bird from the sky on December 9 last year.
He was fined £335 for the illegal act.
“You’re under a vest” – thief chased down by victim wearing only his underwear after break-in at flat
A housebreaker was stopped by a hero who gave chase in his underwear.
Steven Boyd, 38, of Hilltown Court, claimed he thought he was stealing from his uncle’s house when he entered a property on Annan Terrace on July 24.
However, the resident he disturbed at 4.40am went to investigate and found him with three carrier bags, which Boyd dropped when his victim gave chase.
Boyd admitted he stole electrical items, CDs, clothing and sports equipment.
Sheriff George Way sentenced Boyd to nine months in prison.
Dopey dealer jailed for selling cannabis-laced chocolate treats on social media
A chef who used his culinary skills to make cannabis-infused sweets was locked up.
William Walker created “edibles” laced with the Class B drug from his home to sell on social media sites Snapchat and Instagram.
A sheriff ignored pleas from Walker’s solicitor to impose a community order, saying the 30-year-old had “learned nothing” from his previous conviction for cultivating cannabis in 2016, sentencing him to 14 months behind bars.
Dundee gin thief who launched foul-mouthed tirade at police compared to Father Jack from hit comedy Father Ted
A gin thief who launched a foul-mouthed tirade towards police was compared to a booze-loving priest from TV comedy series Father Ted.
Mark Warren’s own solicitor said the 44-year-old lout had behaved in a manner akin to Father Jack from the Channel 4 show after breaking into a flat on Arbroath Road in April and quickly downing a bottle of spirits.
Defence solicitor Theo Finlay said: “The fact he drank a bottle of gin within the space of a few minutes just shows you the Father Jack-like transformation that occurred.”
It’s likely his 12-month prison sentence was a sobering thought as he was led to the cells.