Man jailed for zapping friend with taser as ‘joke’

Scott Ross (left) and Dylan Baxter (right) were jailed at  Livingston Sheriff Court.

Scott Ross (left) and Dylan Baxter (right) were jailed at Livingston Sheriff Court.

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A practical joker who zapped his friend with a high-voltage taser gun has been jailed for 14-months.

Dylan Baxter, 20, was jailed for possessing the illegal weapon and using it in a culpable and reckless manner.

His co-accused Scott Ross, 20, who admitted possessing the weapon and hiding it in his garden was sentenced to seven months in prison.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard Ross had bought the illegal stun gun from a Chinese website for £19 before Baxter used it to administer a powerful 15 second electric shock to their friend Stephen Shields on 16 March last year.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Susan Craig said the court was troubled that a prohibited firearm such as a taser could be obtained so easily on the internet.

She told the pair: “Although the victim in this case didn’t in fact suffer greatly or for an extensive period of time he very clearly could have.

“Had he, for example, had a pacemaker it could well have killed him.”

She said she was also troubled by the fact that Baxter had discharged the taser on Mr Shields’ back for 15 seconds.

She told him: “That means you must have held it there and seen the victim suffering as he did.

“While the victim had no long-lasting injury, several hours after you discharged the taser on him his girlfriend sought medical assistance for him. He was dizzy, feeling sick, he was unwell.

“It’s important that the public is aware that possession of these weapons is unlawful and will be treated very seriously indeed.

“I’m not going to deal with this matter in the community and I’m going to impose a custodial sentence on you.”

The court heard earlier that Baxter followed Mr Shields inside a convenience store in West Main Street, Whitburn and showed him the taser device, telling him sparks would come out of it if he fired it.

He warned the victim he’d planned to “zap him as a joke” before going outside.

When Mr Shields left the shop he felt a strange sensation on the back of his right shoulder blade and saw Baxter was standing a short distance behind him.

Mr Shields was stunned and couldn’t move his body for the 15 seconds the device’s ‘stinger’ was attached to him.

Throughout the incident Baxter treated it all as a joke that was done for sport.

Mr Shields had to lean against a car to stop himself falling because he was feeling so light-headed.

When officers asked Baxter why he’d shocked his friend with the taser he replied: “Just for a laugh. He was asking what it was like.”

Baxter, 20, of Yule Place, Blackburn, and Ross, 20, Ellen Street, Whitburn, had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges on a Section 76 indictment.

Police experts said a full charge of five seconds or more from the weapon could immobilise someone, cause disorientation, loss of balance and muscle control and leave them “weak and dazed”.