A Scottish man’s 10-year jail term for a bizarre killing has been cut by two years on appeal.

Colin McFarlane, 50, and Mark Gallagher, 37, had struck a deal to end a feud after Mr Gallagher appeared in court charged with stabbing McFarlane’s son.

The men met behind the pavilion of a park in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, and Mr Gallagher expected “a wee stab” to the leg in return for the son not identifying him when the case went to court.

Dad-of-two Mr Gallagher told his girlfriend: “I’ll just get a wee stab and that will be that.”

McFarlane said: “I’m going to do to you what you did to my boy.”

However, he twice plunged a knife deep into Mr Gallagher’s right buttock, and severed a major vein and an artery. Mr Gallagher bled to death.

McFarlane, of Tullichewan, Alexandria, admitted the culpable homicide of Mr Gallagher, of Rosshead, Alexandria, on 15 January, and was jailed for ten years, reduced from 12 years because he had pleaded guilty.

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh ruled that a greater discount should have been given for the early plea, and imposed a sentence of eight years.

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An 88-year-old German man has dropped his appeal and agreed to pay a $2,610 fine for hitting his 65-year-old son with a broom.

The men, who share a house in Maisach, appeared in court Monday before Judge Michaela Welnhofer, who twice had to shout at the pair to stop them from quarrelling in the courtroom.

The older man, who was convicted of criminal assault and ordered to pay the fine in December, said in his appeal he had not struck his son, but had rather pushed him with the broom in self-defense to keep from being strangled.

However, the man eventually decided in the courtroom to drop the appeal and pay the fine.

“I’d be ashamed of coming to court with this nonsense,” Welnhofer told the men.

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A judge has sentenced an Oklahoma man to four years in federal prison on a firearm charge.

Minutes later performed a marriage ceremony to wed the new inmate and his longtime girlfriend.

Thursday was a busy day for Larry Austin and Dustie Trojack.

First they obtained their marriage license, then Austin pleaded guilty to the firearm charge and was sentenced by Oklahoma County Judge Jerry Bass.

Shortly afterward, Bass married the happy couple who kissed before feds whisked Austin away.

Austin’s attorney, Scott M. Anderson said that Austin had helped to raise Trojack’s two sons and he didn’t want to lose contact with them while he was serving time.

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A Welsh man who went shopping after repairing a pub’s lights was Tasered by armed police because he still had a screwdriver in his pocket.

Chris Thomas received four bursts of 50,000 volts from police officers after they confronted him in the Peacocks store in Swansea city centre in February last year.

An armed response vehicle had been called after he had been spotted by security staff in BHS with the screwdriver protruding from his pocket, and then followed by city centre rangers.

But the case against the 45-year-old, who had been charged with a public order offence, was thrown out by magistrates, after an application by his representative, Grayson Tanner, who argued the evidence given to the court from the five witnesses in the case was inconsistent, and that officers had not followed correct procedures before they had brought him to the floor in the shop, and used the Taser.

Mr Thomas said after the case: “I am really happy the case has finished, it has gone on a long time.

“I have a very supportive family and it’s been difficult for them too, and I’m very grateful to them, as well as my bosses, who have given me the time to come to court.”

Magistrates were told Mr Thomas, an electrical engineer, was a member of the Railwaymen’s Club in Wind Street, and had been mending lights on the premises as a favour.

But when he left to go into town, he had forgotten he still had two small screwdrivers in his pocket, and a small knife.

Three rangers were called to court and they described Mr Thomas, who had drunk several pints of cider, as walking in an “unsteady” manner, but otherwise not acting suspiciously.

But some of their evidence was described as inconsistent, with one telling magistrates that Mr Thomas had put his hands up when instructed by police, and others who did not give the same information.

At the start of the case, Andrew Smith, prosecuting, said: “This was something of an unfortunate incident, when a man was arrested out of a misunderstanding.”

Mr Thomas was praised for his first aid efforts in 2004, after being first on the scene at a car crash in Fabian Way, which killed three people.

He added: “It is a ridiculous waste of tax-payers’ money to bring this to court. But I just want to move on now.”

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A 68-year-old man in England who claimed to be running an animal rescue centre in Shropshire has escaped an immediate prison sentence after being found guilty of kicking and punching several birds of prey.

William MacKenzie was filmed by neighbours mistreating several protected species of owl at his Shrewsbury home over two years.

MacKenzie, of Boscobel Drive, Heath Farm, was found guilty of nine animal welfare charges and handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also given a lifetime ban from keeping any type of animals and ordered to wear an electronic tag for six months as well as pay £500 in costs.

During the two-day trial, Shrewsbury Magistrates Court was shown video footage, filmed by neighbours, which showed MacKenzie striking and kicking several birds in his garden, including a snowy owl and an African spotted eagle owl.

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Mrs Maxine Taplin, said: “There is clear evidence of suffering.”

Following the verdict, RSPCA inspector Dave McCartney said: “His behaviour is exaggerated by the fact that he was running a rescue centre supposedly caring for sick and injured birds. He was, in his own words, ‘experienced and knowledgeable’ and should have known what he was doing was wrong. For some birds there was no escape. They were tethered when they were hit.”

MacKenzie said it was his hobby to rescue birds which had been abandoned or involved in road accidents.

He was known to exhibit them across Shropshire.


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A judge in England has praised the people of a seaside resort for the good judgment they have shown over a sex offender after he was released back into their community.

Despite feelings running high over a series of offences in the small town of Seaton in Devon, reaction to the case has been level-headed.

Judge Mr Justice Evans praised the tolerance of the community for not taking any action against sex pest Matthew Hampton, despite the apparent anger the case has generated.

He spoke as he jailed Hampton, aged 30, for groping women, including a girl as young as 14, in a two-week bottom-pinching spree in the seaside resort.

University student Hampton fondled complete strangers in shops in Seaton, then told police he thought it was a normal way of making a sexual approach.

The student, who is due to start a Master’s degree in history at Cambridge next year, left many of his victims disgusted and distressed after following them around and touching them repeatedly.

Hampton, who was released into the community in Seaton prior to his sentence, was jailed for 36 weeks, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to receive 18 months’ supervision at Exeter Crown Court.

Mr Justice Evans also put him on the sex offenders register for ten years. He said the public would be better protected by Hampton working with probation to address his problems than by a short jail sentence.

Hampton’s victims were aged between 14 and 51 and included a hairdresser who he groped while she was cutting his hair, Exeter Crown Court was told.

He was caught because he paid for the haircut by credit card and revealed where he worked as he chatted to the stylist. Hampton, of The Avenue, Seaton, who had a holiday job working at a hotel in the resort, admitted six sexual assaults and asked for two more to be considered.

Mr Warren Robinson, defending, said Hampton now accepted what he did was wrong and that he needs help. He said he had already spent eight days in custody and it had a shocking effect on him.


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A homeless man in Las Angeles has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for choking a pelican to death because he was hungry.

The District Attorney’s Office said Sergio Alvarez, 30, caught the bird near the Malibu pier on Aug. 22.

About 5:50 p.m. that day, a bystander flagged down a sheriff’s deputy and said a man was choking a pelican.

When the deputy showed up, the brown pelican “flapped its wings in distress until its body went limp and died,” sheriff’s Lt. Robert Wiard said at the time.

Alvarez first said he found the bird dead, but later admitted he caught it and killed it because he was hungry and hadn’t caught any fish, a spokeswoman for the district attorney said.

Brown pelicans are protected by state law.

In a Van Nuys courtroom, Alvarez pleaded no contest to animal cruelty.

Judge Jessica Silvers sentenced him to 60 days in jail and a year’s probation, prosecutors said.

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Bird feeder lands woman in court

On August 30, 2012, in Animals & Plants, Courts, by djeyli

A woman’s love of bird, coupled with a tendency to overfeed them, has run her afoul of Massachusetts law.

Hull town officials sought an injunction against Gail Kansky, 71, arguing in court she has been constantly overfeeding swarms of birds, creating a public nuisance.

The officials argued that Kansky’s habit of frequently refilling a bird feeder has led to more than 100 birds taking up residence in the area.

Neighbors have complained the leftover bird feed has created a rat problem and the bird droppings regularly soil cars and homes in the area, a town lawyer charged.

A judge has given both sides two weeks to submit written arguments before making a ruling.

Kansky, though, isn’t leaving her perch.

“I won’t take down the bird feeder because I’m not wrong,” she told reporters.

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A excluded school pupil has been called before magistrates – for returning to the classroom due to boredom.

The teenager was excluded from his Teesside school about two years ago.

But the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found in a technology classroom – helping his friend with his woodwork.

This week he appeared at Teesside Youth Court over his actions.

Prosecutor Kate Hills said the boy had been found in a technology room at the school at around 8.45am on Monday, July 16.

“He had gone into the technology room and was assisting one of his friends with his work,” she said.

Ms Hills said that police were called and the boy was removed from the school and interviewed.

She said that a new male teacher had been taking the class and had not noticed he had joined them.

Ms Hills explained that the teenager had a history of throwing furniture around and swearing at school. But she added that he had no previous convictions.

John Clish, defending, said the teenager had been at a loose end.

“At the time of the offence he was not doing anything meaningful and was maybe envious of his friends who had the benefit of education,” he said.

Mr Clish said that the teenager described his entry into the school as “relatively straightforward”. But he was able to appreciate that his actions were not appropriate.

Mr Clish added that the teenager has since sent a letter to the school to apologise.

The youngster had pleaded guilty to causing a nuisance or disturbance on academy premises.

He was given a three-month youth referral order which will see him attend regular sessions in a bid to address his offending.

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Eight property owners in Poland were taken to court after police discovered opium poppies growing in their flower beds.

The Grodzisk court cleared two people and issued cautions to the remaining six on a charge of growing opium poppies without a license, Polskie Radio reported Thursday.

The garden owners told police that the plants had grown on their own.

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