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Killer deemed too dangerous to be sentenced in courtroom

Adam Gallagher will be first inmate in Scottish history to be sentenced by video link.

'Dangerous': Killer to be sentenced by video link in Perth.
'Dangerous': Killer to be sentenced by video link in Perth.

A killer deemed too dangerous to appear in a public courtroom will become the first inmate in Scottish legal history to be sentenced by video link.

It would be competent to impose a new jail term upon Adam Gallagher "remotely" with a video link to Perth Prison, a sheriff has ruled.

The 29-year-old murderer is already serving life and now faces a fresh sentence for causing more than £10,000 worth of damage by trashing cells.

At Perth Sheriff Court, fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie called for a video link to be set up to avoid having to bring Gallagher to the court.

She said: "It wouldn't appear to be incompetent for your Lordship to sentence him that way. 

"The legislation does not allow you to pass sentence in the absence of the accused but this would allow him to be 'virtually' here.

"It is in the interests of justice that he is not here for the deferred sentence."

Ms Gillespie added: "The accused is serving a life sentence and is considered to be extremely dangerous. He poses a clear risk to the normal operation of the court."

Sheriff William Wood said: "For the duration of the hearing, the place where the images are taken forms part of the court.

"It is in the interests of justice that the accused is not brought and the case is dealt with in his absence. Sentence should be by way of video link."

'The accused is serving a life sentence and is considered to be extremely dangerous. He poses a clear risk to the normal operation of the court.'
Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie

Mr Wood deferred sentence on Gallagher, who is serving a minimum of 15 years, for four weeks to allow the video link between the court and the prison to be set up.

Gallagher, 29, from Arbroath, Angus, admitted wilfully or recklessly destroying cells at maximum security Perth Prison, including a segregation unit, on April 21 and June 13 last year.

It is understood he caused more than £10,000 worth of damage by trashing light fittings, wall sockets, spy glass and fixed furniture during the wrecking sprees.

Gallagher had also been charged with trashing another prison cell on April 18 last year, and smashing up a cell at Perth Sheriff Court when he was brought to attend a previous hearing on May 19. 

Those charges were dropped by the Crown.

Gallagher has a long history of disruptive behaviour since being jailed for the murder of 21-year-old Czech fruit picker Marek Smrz in Arbroath in 2006.

He has been convicted of nine separate prison-based offences - including assault, vandalism and setting fire to cells - since being locked up for life in 2007.

Gallagher, who was described by his own solicitor as "a very difficult prisoner," was moved to HMP Grampian after last year's offences but was returned to Perth Prison earlier this month.

Last year, Perth Sheriff Court heard how Gallagher had slathered himself in baby oil to stop riot staff getting hold of him to transfer him to another jail.

He stripped to his boxer shorts and covered himself in oil so he was too slippery for the officers to catch. 

Gallagher "rolled about" with G4S staff during the fracas and one of the security team moving him was so frightened he fainted.

'I had been there for seven weeks, and this day covered myself in baby oil before rolling about with the riot squad.'
Prisoner Adam Gallagher

Gallagher also damaged the G4S security van as he lashed out during the journey from Perth to HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow.

Representing himself, Gallagher explained he had been in solitary confinement after attacking a prison officer.

"I had been there for seven weeks and this day covered myself in baby oil before rolling about with the riot squad," he said.

"I asked the G4S man's name in the van but he wouldn't tell me so I kicked off. My adrenaline was high. I apologise for the man fainting but these people are meant to be able to deal with this."

Gallagher was jailed for a further eight months for that incident.

He was found guilty of murder at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2007 and told he must spend at least 15 years behind bars before being considered for parole.

Heroin addict Gallagher stabbed Mr Smrz after he and former girlfriend Hazel Dryden, 18, found the fruit picker collapsed on the ground near a pub.

Ms Dryden stole Mr Smrz's wallet before witnessing a scuffle between the two men. Gallagher stabbed his victim with a steak knife and ran off with his girlfriend, leaving Mr Smrz bleeding to death in the street.

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