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Man cleared over bottle in bag assault

A SHETLAND man accused of severely injuring another man in an assault walked free from Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday after being found not guilty.

Shaun Strachan, of 4 Burnside, Lerwick, had lodged a special defence saying he had acted in self defence when he struck the complainer over the head twice with a carrier bag containing a bottle.

After a two day trial it took the jury just under an hour to deliver its majority verdict.

CCTV evidence of the incident showed how 44 year old Mr Strachan bought a bottle of port and some cigarettes from the Scalloway Meat Company shop on the evening of Saturday 10 October last year, when he was engaged in conversation by three other customers.

The initially light hearted encounter turned sour and then aggressive as all four left the shop.

At this stage the complainer lashed out at Mr Strachan, who in return grabbed the man’s hand and retaliated by striking him twice over his head with the carrier bag.

The complainer was severely injured after the bottle broke with the first strike, blood and port splashing across the shop floor.

Neither party disputed the retaliation had taken place, but procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie argued that the severity of Mr Strachan’s actions was unreasonable and therefore constituted an assault.

Defending, solicitor Gregor Kelly said his client was a quiet and private man whose reaction to the threat he encountered was a “spontaneous defensive reaction”.

The court heard from four crown witnesses, detective sergeant Lindsay Tulloch who investigated the case, and the two men and one woman who were in the shop with Mr Strachan.

The complainer accepted in court that he had assaulted Mr Strachan and had paid a fiscal fine for the assault.

Meanwhile fellow witness Brian John Adamson had to be reminded several times that he was in contempt of court for changing his story during his evidence.

After the trial he was called back into the dock to explain his actions. Speaking on his behalf, defence solicitor Tommy Allan said his client had difficulties remembering all that happened on the night of 10 October and was also nervous being in court.

Sheriff Graeme Napier eventually let him off the hook.