Covid scare man ticked off by Sheriff

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A man sparked a Covid scare at a hostel for homeless people in Oban which resulted in ‘considerable inconvenience’ for all concerned, a court has heard.

Steven Colin Pattison appeared before Oban Sheriff Court on Wednesday November 4 in connection with the incident at Solas in Albany Street, operated by the Blue Triangle Housing Association.

David Glancy, procurator fiscal, told the court that at 10pm on October 5, Pattison verbally abused two members of staff starting the nightshift.

He refused to go to his room and told them he had suspected Covid, and called them: ‘F******g b*****s and f*****g cows,’ said Mr Glancy.

His refusal to isolate, left housing officers with no alternative but to call in police who were then required to drive him through to Glasgow causing ‘considerable inconvenience’ for all concerned, the court heard.

Other occupants in the Solas building were also advised to self isolate while his result was awaited.

Pattison was tested on October 6 but found not to have coronavirus, Mr Glancy said.

The accused pled guilty to a charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner on October 5 and the same offence relating to a different incident at Solas on September 14.

In the latter, Pattison had tried to get into the building with a bottle of vodka but then had it confiscated by staff and was ‘clearly unhappy’ about it, said Mr Glancy.

Pattison told a female member of staff: ‘Give me my f*****g bottle, I f*****g hate this place,’ the court heard.

‘If he was a child it would be described as a tantrum,’ said Mr Glancy, who said Pattison tried to overturn a large bin but because it was too big he resorted to a smaller one.

Pattison then self harmed and had to be taken to hospital, he said.

Ruben Murdanagium, representing Pattison, said his client had mental health and alcohol issues but could not have face-to-face support, although he was now fully supported.

In the aftermath of the incidents, Pattison had ‘cleaned the place up’ and written a letter of apology to staff, he said.

Of the Covid scare, Mr Murdanagium said his client had genuinely been ill and was suffering from a high temperature and not feeling well.

‘It’s not that he was faking it,’ said Mr Murdanagium, who said the staff at Solas were happy with him to be there and understood his problems.

The background to both incidents stemmed from the fact that his client had been living at Solas for quite some considerable time waiting to be rehoused and was depressed that he had not moved on like others, said Mr Murdanagium.

Sheriff Patrick Hughes told the accused that telling organisations such as Solas and the police that he had Covid placed them under more pressure than they were already.

Sheriff Hughes said he understood Pattison’s difficulties but pointed out that staff members had their own ‘cares and problems’ to worry about also, alongside their role of providing vital services.

‘No one wants to see you go to prison or to suffer but there’s a limit to what people are prepared to take,’ said Mr Hughes, who deferred sentence until December 14 for reports.