A psychiatric patient has been cleared of attempting to murder a police officer during a violent confrontation in St Andrews.
James Smith was accused of fighting with nine officers while armed with knives and a baseball bat in the town’s Freeborn Court.
The 46-year-old faced allegations of trying to murder PC Stefan Alexander by repeatedly stabbing him during the December 2020 attack.
On Friday, Smith appeared at the High Court in Glasgow via videolink from the Radernie low secure forensic unit at Stratheden Hospital and denied attempted murder and six other charges related to the same incident.
He was acquitted of all charges after prosecutors accepted a special defence submitted by his counsel Iain Paterson, stating Smith has a long-standing mental health disorder.
An interim order was put in place to ensure Smith continues his treatment in hospital.
His case will be reviewed again at the end of August.
Mental health difficulties
Police were called to Freeborn Court, off Abbey Park Avenue, just before 2pm on December 8, following reports by medical staff of a man experiencing mental health difficulties.
It was alleged Smith shouted, swore and uttered threats of violence, before running towards officers while brandishing knives and a baseball bat.
Prosecutors claimed Smith struggled with them and barricaded himself inside the property.
Smith was accused of attacking four police officers, and struggling with five others.
It was alleged he attempted to strike PC Michael Lewis with the bat, struggled with him and caused him to fall to the ground to his injury.
It was claimed Smith also assaulted PC Gary Pirie by seizing hold of his body and pushing him to the ground.
Smith was further charged with resisting, obstructing or hindering constables Stefan Alexander and Nikk Smith, struggling violently with them and repeatedly lashing out with the knife.
He was accused of striking PC Smith with the knife on the body.
And it was alleged he struggled violently, lashed out and attempted to break free from a further five officers.
Specially-trained police deployed a taser to bring the situation under control.
During the brief virtual court hearing, Mr Paterson said his client was fit to instruct solicitors and able to go to trial.
Advocate depute Euan Cameron confirmed the Crown had accepted the special defence.
Lady Stacy told Smith: “I’ve read the medical reports and I am acquitting you of the charges in the indictment.
“I will make an interim compulsion order, which means you will stay in hospital where you are being taken care of.”
A report on the use of the taser was submitted to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).
Rise in police assaults
The acquittal came as new stats showed a rise in police assaults in Fife.
In the last financial year there were 352 recorded assaults on police across the region, compared to 341 in the previous year.
Murdo Fraser, Tory MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife said: “These figures are absolutely shocking.
“Police officers should not have to put up with being assaulted by some people while carrying out their duties.
“There seems to be a trend that has set in where we see many of our emergency services subjected to this kind of appalling behaviour and it must be called out.”