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Sentence more than doubled for Inverness man jailed for coughing in police officers' faces


By Ali Morrison

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A 48-year-old who was believed to be the first man in Scotland to be jailed for endangering police lives by coughing in officers' faces has had his jail sentence increased.

When Iain Lindsay, from Inverness, appeared before Sheriff Sara Matheson on May 12 at Inverness Sheriff Court, he admitted assaulting two police constables by coughing in their faces to the danger of their lives and was imprisoned for four months, backdated to April 16.

However the Crown Office appealed that sentence and the Appeal Court in Edinburgh decided to more than double it.

Alex Prentice QC, the principal advocate depute made the case for the Crown and Gordon Jackson QC represented Lindsay.

Lindsay's lawyer when he appeared at Inverness last month, Graham Mann, said: "He was sentenced to 15 months reduced to 10 months."

Lindsay was one of around 300 people in the country to be charged with offences of coughing or spitting at police.

Sheriff Matheson imposed the sentence after hearing how he had been taken to a police station in Inverness on April 15 in connection with another incident.

The court heard how, as he was being asked routine questions, he turned towards one officer and coughed once in his face.

He then did the same to another officer.

Although Lindsay was not displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 the incident caused the officers and their families “significant alarm and distress” the court was told.

Mr Prentice told Appeal Court judges Lady Dorrian, Lord Glennie and Lord Turnbull that Lindsay had 30 previous convictions for offences like assaulting police officers and that, given his record, Sheriff Matheson should have imposed a longer prison sentence.

Mr Jackson asked the court to dismiss the Crown request, adding his client should not have done what he did.

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