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Four fighting Fraserburgh fishermen fined

FOUR Fraserburgh fisherman left Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday morning more than £3,000 lighter after admitting their part in a bar room brawl involving a pool cue and a flying glass.

The court heard that Douglas McCulloch, Clint Cassie, Garry Strachan and Matthew Ritchie were in drinking in Lerwick’s Thule Bar on 5 December while their boat was in port.

Trouble started when 44 year old Cassie, of 7 Cortes Crescent, got into a heated argument with another patron.

The bar manager tried to intervene and calm the pair down, when 20 year old Ritchie, of Fairndale, East Moss Croft, stepped in to drag his friend away.

At this point another drinker sensed matters escalating so he tried to get between the fishermen and the other man.

Fists started to fly when 25 year old McCulloch, of 58 Buchan Road, joined the fray and started punching the first patron, triggering a similar response from Cassie.

A bunch of other drinkers rushed in to stop the fighting, at which 47 year old Strachan, of 17 North Braehead, grabbed a pool cue and started swinging it around his head.

The original victim tried to protect himself by getting behind the pool table, but Cassie attacked him again, pushing him up against the wall, punching him in the head and chest, then pushing him on the ground where he carried on punching him and tried to kick him in the head.

Only then did the assembled crowd of drinkers and staff bring the fight to a halt and ushered the four men out of the bar.

But as a parting blow Ritchie struck the bar manager in the face, picked a glass up from the bar and threw it at him. It narrowly missed its target, instead smashing into a TV on the wall.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said it was another “drink fuelled” incident that left one man in hospital needing two stitches to his lip.

Defending the men, Tommy Allan said the foursome had done themselves no favours, having suffered financially from lost fishing trips and the cost of travelling to court in Shetland.

“If they are not at sea they are not earning money, but they can’t blame anyone else for that,” he said.

Cassie in particular had paid a high price having lost his job as a result of the incident, and suffered the wrath of his wife and family.

However Sheriff Philip Mann had no sympathy for the men. “I am aware that this has cost you a lot of money, but to be quite plain about it, I don’t really care about that because you brought that on yourselves,” he said.

He handed out fines of £1,000 each to McCulloch and Strachan, and £800 to Cassie who had a greater discount because he had complied fully with social workers compiling background reports.

Ritchie was fined £500 for assaulting the manager and ordered to pay £380 compensation for the TV he smashed.