Man jailed for 40 months after ‘gangsterism’ incident in Kirkcaldy street

The incident took place in the street outside the Novar Bar in Kirkcaldy in August. Pic:  Fife Photo Agency.
The incident took place in the street outside the Novar Bar in Kirkcaldy in August. Pic: Fife Photo Agency.
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A 36-year-old man who admitted shooting and seriously injuring a woman in a busy Kirkcaldy street in broad daylight has been jailed for 40 months.

On sentencing Robert Speed Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist told him the incident in Nicol Street was ‘no less than gangsterism’.

Robert Speed appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court this morning.

Robert Speed appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court this morning.

Speed had originally been charged with attempted murder after firing a pellet gun at the woman in Nicol Street on a Sunday afternoon in August.

Speed, a prisoner at Perth, appeared before Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court this morning (Tuesday).

He admitted assaulting Shelagh Rashid on August 4, by presenting a pellet gun at her, discharging it and striking her to her severe injury and to the danger of her life.

He also pled guilty to brandishing a golf club, shouting and swearing and behaving in a threatening and abusive manner, while acting with others.

This morning in court an account of events were given along with CCTV footage of the incident unfolding outside the Novar Bar in the town’s Nicol Street on August 4.

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Procurator Fiscal Depute Ronnie Hay told the court: “On the morning of August 4 the witness Rashid was moving his belongings into his partner’s flat. His brother was also moving that day.

“Their mother, the complainer Shelagh Rashid, also attended. At around 1.40pm, the accused Robert Speed was with Ryan Brown in a red Citroen Berlingo.

“Ryan Brown was known to the Rashid brothers and they were not on good terms.

“He was in possession of a mobile phone and they had agreed to meet at the Novar Bar where Ryan Brown would hand over the mobile phone. They parked outside the Novar Bar.”

Mr Hay said the accused got out the vehicle and saw a group walking towards him.

Both himself and Ryan Brown then became involved in an altercation with the group.

The Procurator Fiscal Depute continued: “The complainer Shelagh Rashid, left the flat and began arguing with the accused. Robert Speed brandished the golf club at her and there was then a struggle between the complainer and the accused.

“During this time the complainer was struck with the golf club.

“One of the group then ran towards the accused with a baseball bat.

“Mr Speed returned to his vehicle and he was then seen in possession of a hand gun which he pointed towards the complainer. A loud bang was heard and the complainer said ‘I’ve been shot’.

“Blood was seen on her neck and she fell to the ground. The accused ran off to his vehicle.

“A member of the public who happened to be passing drove the complainer and her sons to hospital.”

The Procurator Fiscal Depute said at 2.35pm officers driving on Golf Course Road in Glenrothes became aware of the accused’s vehicle and they followed it to Ivanhoe Drive. He said the accused was then arrested and taken to Kirkcaldy Police Station.

He continued: “A golf club was recovered from the front of the vehicle. The complainer was taken to Victoria Hospital where she underwent scans and a steel ball bearing pellet was found lodged in her chest at the base of her neck. The laceration on her head was closed with four stitches.”

Speed’s defence agent Graham Inch said his client appeared to become involved in the incident through his brother-in-law.

He said: “His brother in law had been asked to deal drugs on behalf of the Rashids, the sons of the complainer in this case.

“My client has not been involved in the local drug scene and is not involved in drug dealing.

“Mr Brown had changed his mind about being involved and had been asked to return the mobile phone he had as it contained numbers relevant to the ongoing business of the Rashid’s.

“My client went with his brother in law to the meeting. He accepts his actions were reprehensible.”

Sheriff Gilchrist queried why there was a golf club in the car when no golf balls were found.

He said he found it a ‘preposterous suggestion’ that the accused had the golf club for hitting golf balls for his dog to chase when “it was perfectly obvious he had the golf club to use as a weapon and was using it as such.”

Mr Inch said the handgun had only been brought to scare and there was never any plan for it to be used.

He said his client didn’t know about the gun being in the vehicle and he didn’t know it was loaded.

However, he accepted full responsibility for the gun going off.

Mr Inch said after the incident the whole family got in the vehicle and were planning to go to a relative’s address.

He continued: “On the way they noticed there was another vehicle following them and they took the view this may be to do with the incident, but in actual fact it was a plain clothes police officer who had noticed the vehicle and was keeping track of them.”

He said police recovered a broken baseball bat from the scene.

Mr Inch said his client suffers from poor mental health - he has Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia and also had physical difficulties.

But he said Speed had never been in trouble like this before.

He added: “It’s fair to say there was blame on both sides of this altercation.

He appreciates the seriousness of this matter and Mr Speed accepts full responsibility for his part in that. This is not something which is going to be repeated.”

Sheriff Gilchrist told Speed: “This is no less than gangsterism.

“This incident took place in public in broad daylight. You used your vehicle to ferry a team of people, some of whom were armed, with the intention of confronting other people in the drugs trade. You escalated matters by producing the first weapon, a golf club, and you did that with the intention to intimidate.

“When that did not work you got a BB pellet gun which you used to the severe injury and danger of life.

“That sort of behaviour can only be dealt with by the most severe disposals available to me.”

He then sentenced Speed to 40 months in prison, backdating it to August 4.