Jail term increased for Inverness man who coughed on police officers

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Police Scotland officersImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Police officers are part of the frontline effort to control the spread of Covid-19 and coughing on them has been deemed a threat to their lives

A man jailed for four months for coughing in the faces of police officers during the Covid-19 lockdown has had his sentence increased.

Iain Lindsay was believed to be the first person to be jailed in Scotland for endangering police officers' lives by coughing on them when he was sentenced in May.

But Crown lawyers argued that the four-month term was too lenient.

Appeal judges have increased his sentence to 10 months in prison.

At Inverness Sheriff Court last month, Lindsay, who is 48, admitted a charge of engaging in culpable and reckless conduct and endangering the lives of the officers.

Sheriff Sara Matheson gave him a custodial term after hearing how he assaulted the officers when he had been taken to a police station on 15 April in connection with another incident.

Last week, prosecution lawyer Alex Prentice QC told appeal judges Lady Dorrian, Lord Glennie and Lord Turnbull that Lindsay should have been given a longer sentence.

He said that Lindsay had a lengthy criminal record and that Sheriff Matheson should have taken that into account before imposing the sentence.

In a written judgement issued on Tuesday, the appeal judges agreed with Mr Prentice and increased the sentence to 10 months.

Image caption,
Officers have been subjected to abusive behaviour including threats of deliberate transmission

'Undue leniency'

In the judgement, Lady Dorrian, Scotland's second most senior judge, also revealed that by 29 April a total of 827 Police Scotland employees had been tested for Covid-19 and that 163 of them were positive.

She wrote: "In our opinion the sentence as a generality meets the test of undue leniency.

"The respondent has an appalling record and, apart from referring to it as a 'bad record', the sheriff gives no indication that she really took this into account and reflected it in the sentence which she imposed."

The judgement revealed that Lindsay's criminal record ran to 11 pages and that he had appeared on complaint well over 100 times, on over 170 charges, as well as appearing on indictment for assault.