Jul 29 2011 by Stephen Robertson, Stirling Observer Friday
A MAN who caused a disturbance at Stirling Royal Infirmary narrowly dodged jail this week.
Stirling Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday that Army veteran John McAleer (56) turned up drunk at the hospital.
He shouted, swore and repeatedly refused to leave the building on May 13. His shocking behaviour meant two staff nurses had to give up 90 minutes of their time to deal with his outburst.
Edinburgh man McAleer pleaded guilty to hindering staff at the hospital.
His solicitor Stephen Maguire said that McAleer had gone through a period of staying away from drink but had a relapse following the death of two close friends. He added: “The offence before the court today occurred while he was very much under the influence. He doesn’t remember the events of that day at all.
“He is disappointed with himself that he got into a state and is frankly ashamed that he has behaved in this way.
“He apologises to staff and the general public for the way he behaved.”
The court was also told that McAleer had been taking further steps to address his alcohol problem.
Sentencing McAleer, Sheriff Wyllie Robertson told him: “What is of concern, as you will be well aware, is the locus of this offence.
“That is a matter of grave concern and that is why I have to consider a custodial sentence.”
Taking into account that McAleer had been taking steps to address his drink problem, his lack of similar offending and his early guilty plea, Sheriff Robertson said that he was prepared to impose a non-custodial sentence.
He imposed a community payback order under which McAleer will have to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, have 12 months supervision and attend alcohol counselling.
But Sheriff Robertson warned McAleer: “If you breach the order then the result is that you will be brought back here and sentenced for this. The likelihood then would be custody.”