Baby insult sparked riot by rival traveller families

Warring families caused chaos at Elgin Sheriff Court.
Warring families caused chaos at Elgin Sheriff Court.

OBSCENE REMARKS MADE over a baby was the spark that caused chaos at Elgin Sheriff Court when two rival traveller families clashed last month.

A dozen police officers rushed to the court and surrounding streets last month when members of the Stewart and McPhee families were scheduled to appear in court on the same day.

The families are known to have been conducting a feud for years – and that boiled over, the court heard, when comments were made between the rivals during appearances in the court on June 16.

Ryan Stewart, 22, was in the same court yesterday for sentencing over his part in the disturbance that saw police stepping between the two families in the street outside the Elgin court.

Abuse was being shouted between the groups causing additional please to be called to control the situation, with the court being told that Stewart and ran at members of the McPhee family shouting threats of violence. In his defence solicitor Brent Lockie said that taunts “got very personal” and that the family’s just hated each other over a feud that went back generations.

Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov said the behaviour had been “disgraceful”, telling Stewart that saddest of all was that he could not say what the dispute was about as it went back so far that nobody could remember.

Stewart was placed under a one-year supervision order, ordered to undertake 160 hours of community service and placed under a restriction of liberty order between 7pm and 7am each day.

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