Glasgow & West Scotland

Prisoner Gary Travers sentenced over urine attack

A prisoner who hurled a cup of urine over a sheriff has been ordered to serve more than four years.

Gary Travers, 38, admitted attacking Sheriff John Rafferty from his cell door inside Airdrie Sheriff Court after he had refused to appear in the dock.

Travers' four-year jail term for the assault will start when he has served 140 days from a previous sentence.

The attack is believed to be the first on a sheriff or judge in a court building in Scotland.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that Travers carried out the attack on 9 April this year after he had refused to leave his cell.

Open hatch

Sheriff Rafferty later decided to convene the court in the cell area so a hearing could take place.

He was joined by others including a procurator fiscal, a security guard and two police officers.

The court was told that Travers door was kept locked and communication was made through an open hatch.

Prosecutor Murdoch MacTaggart told how Sheriff Rafferty later informed Travers that his application for bail was being refused.

Mr MacTaggart went on: "Upon hearing this, the accused - who had a white polystyrene cup in his hand - deliberately threw the contents through the open hatch."

The urine in the container went over the sheriff's face and clothes. It also struck some of the others who gathered for the hearing.

Travers - who was described as "unruly and aggressive" - was then hauled out of cell by police and arrested.

Mr MacTaggart said Sheriff Rafferty was "naturally disgusted" at what he was subjected to.

He sought medical advice after the incident, but there was found to be no adverse effect.

'Utterly despicable'

However, the court was told that the fiscal who witnessed the attack remains "shaken".

Tony Graham, defending, said it was accepted that what happened to the sheriff was "utterly despicable".

Jailing him for four years, judge Lord Pentland told Travers that he was guilty of "outrageous conduct" and that he had "no respect for the law or other people".

The judge added: "This was a disgraceful assault on a member of the judiciary in the course of his judicial business."

Travers was told that he will also be supervised for a further three years on his release.

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