Former Fort resident jailed for reset and driving offences

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A former Fort William resident who vanished before he could be sentenced for four offences, including the reset of a £22,000 car and number plates, appeared at the town’s sheriff court this week from custody.

An arrest warrant had been issued in May for Antonio Sabiu, whose previous local address was in Fort William’s Claggan area, after he failed to appear for sentencing.

Last year Sabiu, 61, admitted charges that on December 11, 2017, at North Road, Fort William, he had driven a car without insurance or an appropriate licence.

He was found guilty after a trial of two other charges involving the reset of a pair of number plates and a VW car worth £22,000 on the same date and at the same location.

Sheriff Eilidh MacDonald had deferred sentence for the compilation of a criminal justice social work report.

Defence agent Gerry Sweeney this week told the court the reason Sabiu had given for not reappearing at court was that he had travelled to Sardinia to visit his elderly and infirm father.

‘Mr Sabiu had taken himself off to Sardinia for a significant period of time, before returning in November to Scotland and he subsequently came into contact with the police when back in Claggan,’ said Mr Sweeney.

The defence agent went on to say that Sabiu had a number of previous road traffic convictions of an analogous nature and had a number of past custodial sentences also.

‘But there is one chink of light to report which is during the period in Invermoriston, Mr Sabiu utilised his skills and appears to have done a number of home repairs. If Her Ladyship was so minded to consider some community-based disposal, perhaps some of these skills could be utilised for the benefit of the community,’ said Mr Sweeney.

Sheriff MacDonald told Sabiu: ‘On the main matter of the trial charges [reset of number plates and the car] I have no alternative but to impose a prison sentence – this was a valuable vehicle which was in your possession. I sentence you to six months’ imprisonment backdate to April 16 when you were remanded in custody.’

On the charge of driving without insurance, she told him: ‘You also have a considerable number of analogous convictions – I have lost count of the number of analogous convictions you have – and have no alternative but to sentence you to a period of imprisonment of five months to run concurrently and your licence is endorsed.’

And on the charge of driving without a licence, Sabiu was banned from driving for three years and fined £600 with no time to pay, and will serve an alternative period in custody as a result.

Sabiu also pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching a community payback order for which he was fined £500 by Sheriff MacDonald.