A man has been ordered by a court to pay compensation to an ex-girlfriend for using social media to blacken her name .
Taxi driver Brian Hamilton, appeared for sentence at Lanark Sheriff Court on Thursday, having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two charges arising out of events surrounding the break-up of his relationship with the woman.
The 44-year-old admitted that, on August 6, he stole, by finding, a mobile phone belonging to the ex-partner, not being named here due to the nature of the charges, from an address in Carluke.
Hamilton, of Glencoe Road, Carluke, had originally been charged with the straightforward theft of the phone, but the crown accepted his claim that he had found the phone in his cab after she had dropped it there and he then illegally kept it.
He further admitted that, on August 16, he sent a text message to the woman’s employer of an indecent character.
That message contained a remark said to be grossly offensive to his ex-partner, whom he first met as one of his passengers, the court heard.
The court was told that Hamilton is already subject to a court community payback order for an earlier offence.
On Thursday, on studying pre-sentence background reports drawn up for the court, Sheriff Nikola Stewart said she was concerned to read that drink had played a part in Hamilton’s action.
She said: “He is a man who drinks and drives taxis.
“He also abuses his passenger.
“He is drinking every day and driving his taxi every day,”
She went on to ask if Hamilton was self-employed and, if not, whether his employer monitored its drivers for alcohol consumption before performing their duties?
The accused’s solicitor, Alex Devanney, told the sheriff that Hamilton was an employee but his taxi firm did not carry out monitoring.
However, he added, Hamilton was well aware of the drink-driving limits.
The sheriff responded: “I am not saying that he is slugging whisky then climbing into his taxi but the next-day implications are there. I have a duty to protect citizens.
“He says he would not have done what he did if he wasn’t drunk, so this is pertinent.
“He seems out of touch with reality.
“His life seems on a downward spiral.”
She also criticised Hamilton’s treatment of his ex-partner, describing him as “traducing her reputation when it suits him”.
Hamilton’s solicitor said his client now realised that “he is drinking in the last-chance saloon”, having already been given a non-custodial sentence for an earlier matter.
He also said that the relationship between his client and the woman was now at a permanent end.
Sheriff Stewart said that, apart from any sentence she passed, Hamilton owed the woman a personal apology.
She ordered him to pay the woman £350 compensation for the damage he had done to her reputation and also directed him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.