A Fife man jailed for a drunken knife attack has thanked a sheriff for not sending him back to prison after he admitted assaulting two guards at HMP Perth.
James Ellis flew into a rage when officers uncovered illicit SIM cards in his cell.
Perth Sheriff Court heard the 30-year-old punched one officer on the head and kicked a female guard on the body.
He was placed in segregation for a month after the outburst in August 2021.
Sheriff Jennifer Bain KC told Ellis she had been only just persuaded not to impose a new prison sentence.
“That’s actually made my year,” Ellis told her.
Tried to dismantle phone
Fiscal depute Erika Watson told the court: “At around 10.30am on August 17 2021, two prison officers attended at the accused’s cell.
“At the time, he was a convicted prisoner with a release date of July 12 2022.”
The prosecutor said: “Officers observed the accused had a prison-issued mobile phone.
“He was asked to hand it over for inspection, but he refused.
“He then proceeded to resist violently and tried to dismantle the phone.”
Officers called for back-up and more guards ran to the cell.
“The accused was restrained, and two illicit SIM cards were recovered,” said Ms Watson.
“The accused’s demeanour became more aggressive.
“He lunged forward violently, while restrained and kicked one officer to the leg and punched another to the head.”
Ellis was jailed for 28 months in August 2021, after admitting a drug-fuelled knife attack that nearly killed his friend.
He pled guilty to the Prison Prison assaults in March this year, after his release.
But when he refused to comply with a social work report he was remanded until sentencing this week.
His lawyer said Ellis was in a new relationship which was “providing him with more stability in is life.”
Ellis, who suffers from PTSD following a serious assault, had been using an illicit SIM card to keep in touch with family following bereavements and illness.
“His grandmother had passed away due to an ongoing battle with cancer,” the solicitor said.
“He had asked for compassionate leave to attend her funeral but that was refused.
“He accepts that his actions when the prison guards came into his cell were unacceptable and he understands the severity of his actions.”
The court heard after leaving segregation, he apologised personally to the two officers he attacked.
His solicitor added: “This type of offence certainly crosses the custody threshold but I am hoping to persuade the court that a community disposal would be appropriate.”
Sheriff Jennifer Bain KC told Ellis: “You have been convicted of very serious offences.
“I understand that you have been remorseful and you have apologised.
“You have a substantial record and I note you have breached numerous community-based disposals previously and I note there is a significant risk of further offending from you.
“Custody was at the forefront of my mind but I am reluctantly persuaded not to impose a custodial sentence today – principally because of the age of the offence and because you have been of good behaviour since.”
“Thank you very much, that has actually made my year,” he responded.