Man found guilty of assault in Lochaline

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In a case where many facts could not be clearly ascertained, Andrew Carvill, 35, of Garbhein Crescent, Kinlochleven was found guilty of assaulting his ex-partner due to the seriousness of injuries inflicted.

Carvill originally pled not guilty at Fort William Sheriff Court with a special defence of self-defence to assaulting his then partner through kicks and pulling out a chunk of hair.

On August 20, the couple had just finished having dinner and some drinks with a friend at Carvill’s partner’s home in Lochaline. Carvill continued drinking and his demeanour changed.

At about 11.30pm Carvill’s partner suggested they go to bed to which she got no response. He still had a glass of whisky in his hand and she tried to remove it.

She said: ‘As I touched the top of the glass to take it away, he smashed it while it was still in his hand.

‘It was after that everything happened but it felt like an out of body experience, like it was happening to someone else.’

Carvill remembered events differently, telling the court that she straddled him and squeezed his hand around the glass to cause it to break. He sustained three cuts to his hand, she had a small ‘nick’ on a finger.

Carvill pulled out a clump of her hair that was shown in evidence as well as causing bruising on her shins, knees and ribs. Carvill maintained that he pulled her hair in an attempt to get her off him.

Police were later phoned and Carvill was taken into custody, charged with assault and placed on bail conditions not to contact his former partner. He contacted her a number of times through a third party, but it was also heard that the complainer contacted him.

Procurator Fiscal Depute, Martina Eastwood said: ‘Credibility and reliability are at the core of this case. The corroboration between the complainer and the police evidence, as well as level of force required to remove such a substantial clump of hair, displaces the defence of self-defence.’

Defence agent, Hamish Melrose agreed that the credibility and reliability of the case were central, he said: ‘The glass breaking caused blood to fall onto the floor which Mr Carvill said he cleaned up and [complainer] said she cleaned up the next day. Police saw no evidence of blood when they were there for 45-50 minutes which supports Mr Carvill’s version of events.’

Mr Melrose suggested taking into account a heat of the moment response.

While Sheriff MacDonald appreciated the inconsistencies, she said: ‘I believe [the complainer]. Mr Melrose has raised relevant issues on your behalf, while relevant, they did not give me reasonable doubt.

‘It takes serious force to pull hair to that extent. I find you guilty of the charges as libelled.’

Carvill was cleared of the breach of bail charge, sentence for the assault is deferred until January.