FOUR MEN were given jail sentences totaling 17 years today for their part in a disturbance at Addiewell prison.
Seven prison officers were assaulted and damage in the jail’s Lomond B wing was estimated at around £5000 a judge was told.
Violence erupted there on the morning of 11 October, 2009 after inmates began to protest about an attempt to move a fellow
con to the jail’s segregation unit.
Judge Lord Stewart spent several days watching CCTV footage from security cameras before a trial was halted and the accused changed their pleas to guilty.
Gary Ross, 25; Gary McKechnie, 30; Scott Ferguson, 25, and David Milne, 30, all from the West of Scotland, all admitted mobbing and rioting – although the court accepted they had played different roles in the disturbance.
McKechnie also admitted attempting to defeat the ends of justice by spraying a security camera with an aerosol to try to stop it filming the riot.
Advocate depute Stephen O’Rourke said four of the seven prison officers who were attacked were injured. One man, Jay Spowart, was knocked unconscious.
He and a colleague, Anthony McDonnell, were taken to St John’s Hospital, Livingston, and were treated there for minor injuries.
Mr McDonnell needed an injection to combat possible infection after being spat on.
Mr O’Rourke said although both men had made a full recovery they had been moved from “front line duties” and given admin jobs in Addiewell to keep them away from prisoners.
A pool table was smashed when it was shoved up against a metal grill in an attempt to stop prison officers getting back into Lomond Wing.
Mr O’Rourke said the bill for the damage in the privately-run jail in West Lothian would be paid by the operator, Sodexo and not the tax payer.
Ferguson, who was serving a two year sentence at the time for assault and robbery with a screwdriver, was sentenced to three years. He had taken part in assaults on four officers, including the throwing of a plate.
Milne, who played a similar part, was also jailed for three years.
Defence advocate Morag Ross told the High Court in Edinburgh today: “Mr Milne involved himself in a situation that he now accepts, with the benefit of hindsight, was none of his business.”
Milne had no record for violence and the offence was out of character, she said.
Drug addict McKechnie – who was within weeks of release at the time – was jailed for five years today.
Danger-man Ross, who was serving a six year sentence for a serious assault, was given another six years today, on top of the jail term he is already serving.
Lord Stewart told the men: “I am prepared to accept that although there was a degree of co-ordination in the riot, it was a spontaneous event.”
But, he said, the sentences had to reflect the fact that prison officers were attacked in the course of their duty.