An ex-serviceman who threatened to shoot First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and bomb an Angus SNP office has avoided going behind bars.
Andrew Cant made the threats in a near hour-long “rant” to a police call handler in November 2019.
The 45-year-old former Royal Navy man said he would “take an axe” to the party’s premises and “destroy it, hopefully with people within”.
In another incident just months later, Cant verbally abused an ambulance call handler, threatened to smash a police vehicle with a road sign and threw a traffic cone at another unit after he was found walking in Arbroath in the early hours.
He was previously banned from going within 50 yards of the Arbroath SNP office and has now been put on a community order.
The offences happened during a breakdown in Cant’s mental health.
Psychiatric reports before Forfar Sheriff Court identified bipolar and personality disorders in the accused.
This type of conduct has to be taken very seriously by the court, whether you intended harm or not.
Sheriff Derek Reekie
Cant had called 101 had called just after 6am to ask if they would contact psychiatric services on his behalf.
He became increasingly agitated, telling the handler: “There is an SNP office about five minutes walk from my house.
“I want to bomb that place, I want to take an axe to it and ******* destroy it, hopefully with people within it.
“And do you know why? They are traitors, they are guilty of treason.”
A sheriff told Cant the way his difficulties manifested themselves was “a serious matter”.
Breakdown in mental health led to offences
Experts said the accused could have been hypomanic at the time of the offences.
Defence solicitor Nick Markowski said: “The psychiatric reports have identified a low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression.
“In the first offence, he made the phone call and police go to his address.
“By the time he has been taken from Arbroath to Dundee he is calm and sensible,” added the solicitor.
Offences admitted at previous court hearing
“If you look at his record the court has been fairly sympathetic to him.
“It doesn’t look like he is able to manage himself all the time,” said Mr Markowski.
He also admitted breaching the peace on Dundee Road, Arbroath near the town’s Asda on January 7 this year.
Community order imposed as alternative to custody
Sheriff Derek Reekie said: “As long as Mr Cant complies with his regular reviews and his medication he would not seem to present a problem.”
Cant told the sheriff a period of remand in relation to the offences had been a “short, sharp shock.”
The sheriff added: “This type of conduct has to be taken very seriously by the court, whether you intended harm or not.
“Making threats in the way you did is particularly alarming for those on the end of your communications.
“What seems to be critical is that you engage with your treatment and that your circumstances are kept under review.
“What influence me most is that there was an accepted breakdown in your treatment.
“I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that led to the sort of effects that can arise from your condition, particularly the low threshold for aggression.
“This is an alternative to custody,” he told Cant.
A 12-month community payback order with supervision was imposed in relation to the threats made around the SNP office and Ms Sturgeon.
Sentence on the other matter was deferred for four months.