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Oban’s Sheriff has warned the community that those who join in assaults on behalf of friends will be held just as responsible for any injuries.
Sheriff Patrick Hughes was speaking as he sentenced two young Oban men for their roles in an ‘ugly’ assault at an Oban pub on Boxing Day last year.
Calum MacLean, aged 23, and Craig John Kirkpatrick, aged 21, pleaded guilty to a charge that they repeatedly punched the complainer on the head and body, and knocked him to the ground to his severe injury.
It left the injured party with a fractured ankle, off work and suffering lost earnings, the court heard.
Appearing before the sheriff, they were each ordered to pay the victim £1,250 compensation.
Having viewed CCTV of the incident, Sheriff Hughes said: ‘This is an ugly incident to watch on screen with two men against one. I’m conscious there was a background here, but it does not excuse this kind of violence.
‘What I want people in the community to realise is that when someone joins in an assault they become responsible not only for what they do, but what other people do as well. The two of you share the same responsibility for the injury sustained in this matter.’
In defence, the court was told that MacLean was in a relationship with a young woman who had previously been the girlfriend of an associate of the complainer.
As a result, there had been some ‘unpleasantness’ and ‘animosity,’ between the different parties , said MacLean’s solicitor Kevin McGinness.
A week earlier, MacLean, of 37 Catalina Avenue, had been approached by the complainer and two men and threatened while he was on his own, according to Mr McGinness.
On Boxing Day, MacLean and the woman had been in the pub and became aware of the complainer using a mobile phone to take photographs and send them to her former partner, said Mr McGinness.
MacLean subsequently confronted the complainer in the pub foyer.
Kirkpatrick, of 12B Mossfield Drive, was advised that his friend was in ‘trouble,’ and went to the pub and also came into contact with the complainer, said his solicitor Jane McLaren.
She said the incident was really ‘nothing to do’ with Mr Kirkpatrick who had been drinking for some time that day. Four character references were submitted on his behalf detailing how well thought of he was and he had no previous convictions.
MacLean had not intended that the victim suffer such a severe injury and had ‘stopped’ when the complainer was at his most vulnerable, the court heard.
Mr McGinness said MacLean realised he should have walked away and contacted the police rather than taking the law into his own hands.
The Sheriff acknowledged that MacLean was usually a ‘productive and decent’ member of society.
He was given a community pay back order of 200 hours of unpaid work over 18 months. He must also be under the supervision of social workers for a year and will have his liberty restricted between 8pm-5am for six weeks.
Kirkpatrick, who played a ‘lesser role’ in the assault, said the sheriff, was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work over 12 months in addition to the compensation order.