Stun gun used on friend ‘for a laugh’, court told

Livingston Sheriff Court. File picture
Livingston Sheriff Court. File picture
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A joker thought it would be good fun to ambush his pal outside a shop and zap him with a powerful electronic taser.

The high voltage stun gun left the target of Dylan Baxter’s prank feeling lightheaded and unsteady on his feet, a court heard.

Baxter wasn’t laughing yesterday when he appeared in the dock at Livingston Sheriff Court charged with possessing an illegal weapon and assaulting his friend Stephen Shields.

Baxter, 20, from Blackburn, West Lothian, admitted the firearms charge and pled guilty to a reduced charge of engaging in reckless conduct by stunning Mr Shields on the body.

His co-accused Scott Ross, 20 – who had bought the stun gun off a Chinese website for £19 – pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon at his home in Ellen Street, Whitburn, West Lothian.

Aidan Higgins, prosecuting, said both accused had been sitting in a car outside a convenience store in West Main Street, Whitburn, on 16 March when they saw Mr Shields go into the shop.

He said Baxter had followed Mr Shields inside and had shown him the taser device telling him sparks would come out of it if he fired it.

He then replaced the taser in his jacket pocket and said to Mr Shields that it had been his plan to “zap him as a joke” before going outside while Mr Shields paid for his shopping.

Mr Higgins went on: “When Mr Shields left the shop he felt a strange sensation on the back of his right shoulder blade and, looking round, he saw that the accused Baxter was standing a short distance behind him.

“Baxter was using the taser device to immobilise him and for about 15 seconds or so while the taser was being used Mr Shields was stunned and he couldn’t move his body during that time.

“Throughout this it seemed to Stephen Shields that, as frightening and unsettling as the incident might be, Dylan Baxter was treating all this as a joke that it was done for sport.”

He said Baxter called Mr Shields over to his car where he and Ross were sitting and Mr Shields had to lean against the car to stop himself falling because he was feeling very light-headed.

“Thereafter, for about a minute or so Baxter was laughing and joking about having this taser and about having used it, then he and Ross drove off.

“When Mr Shields returned home he was out of sorts and anxious about what had just happened.

“He told his girlfriend and she phoned the police and ambulance.

“It was perhaps her concern that her boyfriend may have suffered something more serious than light headedness – fortunately that wasn’t the case.”

Mr Higgins said Baxter had spoken freely and candidly to police about the incident and Ross had shown officers where the taser was hidden under a garden shed at his home.

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.”

Mr Higgins said police experts reckoned that 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” for some minutes afterwards.

Sheriff Susan Craig called for social work background reports on both accused and adjourned the case until 21 January, 2016 for sentence.