Feb 1 2012 Airdrie & Coatbridge
Airdrie Sheriff Court
A SEX OFFENDER broke down in tears and begged not to be jailed when he was sentenced at Airdrie Sheriff Court last week.
But Arthur Fermie’s desperate plea for was futile and he was locked up for three months.
The 43-year-old was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in a Coatbridge tower block.
He had been placed on probation at an earlier date for this and other offences and might have stayed out of jail but for a damning background report which indicated he had not changed his ways.
When Fermie nervously stood in the dock before Sheriff Petra Collins last Wednesday to hear his fate, he began to panic as he realised he was going to prison.
In some distress, he pleaded: “Please don’t send me to jail. I don’t want put in prison. ”
After Sheriff Collins handed down a custodial sentenced, Fermie briefly struggled with the court police officer and a court security guard as they tried to place him in handcuffs.
Fermie, of Manse View, Newarthill, had touched his victim’s private parts “to her injury” between January 1 and December 31 in 2003 in Merryston Court where he lived at the time.
Fermie had also been convicted of other sexual offences in Glasgow. On July 13, 2010, he was seen exposing himself and performing a solo sex act in Hanover Street, near George Square, and on October 17, 2010, in McDonald’s restaurant, at the corner of Jamaica Street and Argyle Street, he made “inappropriate comments of a sexual nature” to a five-year-old girl.
In addition, he broke into a neighbour’s house and stole Christmas decorations and children’s clothes on June 30 last year when he lived in Drumbathie Road, Airdrie.
Fermie’s lawyer, Andrew Fitzpatrick, argued that “some progress has been made” during the time his client had spent on probation.
Mr Fitzpatrick also spoke of Fermie being “terrified” of coming to court.
At his last appearance in the dock on Wednesday, December 28, Sheriff Collins had deferred sentence on Fermie and asked for further background reports which led her to conclude there was no alternative to prison.
Fermie was considered to be unsuitable for community service and had continued to drink alcohol, which had been a major factor in all of his offending.
Sheriff Collins told him: “I have read the reports carefully and listened to Mr Fitzpatrick.
“I also have to consider the nature of the offence you have been convicted of, which is indecent assault, which caused a great deal of distress to the lady concerned.
“There have been two previous orders involving sexual counselling and alcohol counselling where you have not engaged despite the fact that you have been told that there is an obvious link between drinking and this offending.
“I have been told that there is a dramatic change to your attitude to drinking but the report has shown that there is no dramatic change.
“It is an extremely serious offence. I have come to the view that I have no alternative but to send you to prison.
“I sentence you to three months in prison from today.”
By this time, Fermie, a small, balding man who was wearing glasses, was in tears and clearly distressed.
He had to be ushered from the dock by the court police officer and a security guard. The police officer had calmed Fermie down during sentencing, when the accused was extremely agitated.
Sheriff Collins admonished Fermie on the housebreaking charge and he was fined £200 for a separate charge of stealing a bottle of aftershave from Superdrug in Graham Street, Airdrie.
The probation order on the two Glasgow sex offences was allowed to continue and Fermie was placed on the sex offenders register for seven years.