Schoolboy prank lands 17-year-old ‘shooter’ in the dock

A SCHOOLBOY PRANK backfired – and landed one 17-year-old Moray pupil in the dock at Elgin Sheriff Court on Thursday.

The pupil, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was facing charges of acting in a threatening or abusive manner after being allegedly overheard saying that he would bring a gun to school.

However, the court accepted that what happened was nothing more than playground pranks – with defence agent Brent Lockie saying that other pupils took the remarks as a joke. The court heard that the pupil had been the subject of banter with other pupils who said he “resembled a shooter”.

Mr Lockie explained: “The teasing was predicated on my client looking a bit like someone who may carry out these shootings – and he played along with that, responding that he was going to shoot up the school.

“As he did that he made gun signals – but they were not aggressive in nature. He did not intend to threaten or alarm anyone – the joke was on him and he was just playing along with it. Everyone knew it was a bit of a wind-up.”

Police had been called when word of the exchange had spread through the school to senior teaching staff.

Sheriff Chris Jackson agreed and acquitted the youth of any charges, deciding that his actions did not, in fact, constitute threatening behaviour, saying that “witnesses understood that the accused was joking around”.

Former teacher and the Leader of Moray Council, Councillor George Alexander, insisted that the school had taken the correct action in reporting the incident, saying: “In the present climate even if the risk is tiny what headteacher would ignore that?”