A man had little morals – and even less legal knowledge – when he filmed a man who took ill inside a courtroom of Falkirk Sheriff Court and later posted footage on social media.
Callum McLaren (30), Haugh Gardens, Bainsford, used his mobile phone to video the middle-aged man after he fell unconscious on the public benches and required paramedics to assist him.
He then posted the video images – which were filmed illegally inside the precinct of the court – on Facebook apparently poking fun at them man, reportedly adding “Lol” or laugh out loud to the posted images, and refused to take them down despite being told by police to do so.
The Facebook post was drawn to the attention of the sheriff who was on the bench at the time.
Sheriff Derek Livingston then ordered court officials to write to McLaren ordering him to appear in court to face an allegation of contempt of court.
McLaren appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Wednesday and accepted he was in contempt filming the incident which occurred during a remand court on December 20, last year.
Sheriff Livingston called for social background reports and continued the case to another hearing to determine “the extent of the contempt”.
McLaren’s solicitor Murray Aitken said his client did not dispute he took video footage within the court room, but claimed it was not while the court was sitting.
He claimed McLaren’s purpose had been to “point out a contempt of court perpetrated by another individual” – an apparent reference to the man taken ill.
Sheriff Livingston replied: “I don’t want your client to be under any illusions as to the seriousness of this. He took a photograph in court of sick man. Having seen what was posted I didn’t get the impression he was saying this was a cause for public concern – it was more he was making fun of the individual.
“He was taking photos of a sick man, in a courtroom, contrary to all instructions, then he’s told to take it down and doesn’t do so.
“People who come to court are entitled to protection. Your client didn’t know if this man was going to survive or not. The fact is that somebody took ill in court and your client takes photographs of him and posts them on Facebook.
“It’s contempt of court to put it up in the first place. Any suggestion that it was some sort of misjudgment does rather fly off when you’ve been told to take it down and you don’t and boast about it.
“There are signs up on all the doors that there is no photography to be taken within the court. It’s to give people who come to court some degree of protection against photographs being taken within the court.”
“I’ve looked at the Facebook page and seen the screenshot where he says he’s been told by the police to take them down and he wasn’t going to do that, though he put it in somewhat more graphic terms.”
He released McLaren on bail to reappear on March 15.