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Unpaid work for pub assault

| Written by Shetland News

A PUB-GOER from Hull who assaulted another man in a Lerwick nightspot and kicked his head after thinking he spilled drink over him has been given 180 hours of unpaid work to complete.

Michael O'Hara, of Birchwood Close, Burstwick, previously pled guilty to punching the man on his head, knocking him to the ground, stamping on his body and kicking him on his head to his injury at the town's Da Wheel Bar on 28 February last year.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the 55 year old had drink spilled on his back in a crowded dance floor section of the pub.

He thought the complainer was responsible and spoke to him before the man turned to walk away.

O'Hara then punched him in the head, causing him to fall to the ground, and continued to assault him. He had to be pulled away.

Mackenzie said it was fortunate there were no "significant injuries" sustained, with the victim only receiving sore and swollen lips.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client did not recall the incident and was left shocked when witnessing the offence unfold on CCTV footage.

He said O'Hara had difficulty coping with what he had done and struggled to understand why he attacked the man.

There was some suggestion his drink had been spiked, Allan added, but his client was "honest" enough to know the offence couldn't be blamed on that.

The solicitor said the incident was "out of character" for a man who has fostered a number of children and has strong family values.

"Whenever I see a charge that includes kicking to the head, the first thing that rings in my head is custody," Sheriff Philip Mann said.

He said that type of assault can cause "catastrophic injuries" or even death.

However, the sheriff said O'Hara had a "significant degree of remorse" and as a first-time offender, jail had to be the only feasible option.

Taking into account Allan's mitigation and the content of a social work report, O'Hara was placed on a community payback order.

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