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Crofter fined over dispute with crew of ferry; COURT.

A man who lost his temper and refused to take his car off a ferry between Fetlar and Unst was fined PS450 at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

The court heard crofter Paul Fowler flew in a rage when he discovered he was not booked to complete a journey to the mainland to go to the marts with sheep.

Fowler thought he had booked the entire journey to Toft, but learned that he was only booked for the first stage of his journey to Belmont and that, as other cars were booked to go to Yell, he would have to take his vehicle off the ferry.

Fowler remonstrated with a crewman then the vessel's skipper who told him he could go nowhere as he was not booked to complete the journey Procurator-fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Fowler became "extremely angry" and refused to get off the ship. Fowler insisted that as an islander he should get priority and refused to back down even when another driver interceded.

He prevented other vehicles from boarding and these were left behind when the ferry sailed. Extra ferries had to be laid on to take the backlog of traffic, the fiscal said.

Fowler, 54, of Midhouse, Fetlar, admitted behaving in a threatening and abusive manner on the Fetlar to Belmont ferry on September 8. Gregor Kelly, defending, said that the ferry was already 20 minutes late and Fowler had been taking 20 sheep to the market that were becoming increasingly agitated.

Fowler was a big man who could appear overbearing but meant no harm and was sorry.

After the incident, he had his guns taken away by the police with the result that he could not defend his flock from crows and had a disastrous lambing season.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said Fowler had caused fear and alarm to ferry crew and travellers as well as a degree of disruption.

He restricted the fine to PS450 rather than PS500 for pleading guilty before the case reached a trial.

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Publication:The Press and Journal (Aberdeen,Scotland)
Date:Jul 5, 2019
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