Man escapes jail term for drunken assault

A MAN from Lerwick who nearly bit off another man’s nose during a drunken assault has narrowly escaped jail after appearing at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Grant Harries, of Browns Road, was instead given 225 hours of unpaid work to complete and was placed under curfew for six months.

The 26 year old previously admitted knocking a man to the ground, repeatedly punching him on the head, gouging his eyes and biting him on the face at Lerwick Boating Club, on Commercial Street, on 6 September.

Last month, Lerwick Sheriff Court heard from procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie that Harries had been arguing with his victim in the club after what was described as a “drunken misunderstanding that the accused devised in his head”.

The complainer left the premises telling Harries that he needed to sort out his “issues”. Harries responded by carrying out an “unexpected assault” on his victim, the court was told.

He knocked the complainer to the ground, punched him on the head, gouged his eyes and bit onto his face, causing a “large part” of the man’s nose to be left hanging off.

The victim needed five stitches and was left with a permanent scar.

At the court on Wednesday, defence agent Tommy Allan said his client could remember “very little” of the incident due to intoxication and suggested that Harries’ knowledge of the day had mainly come from what other people had told him.

However, social work reports prepared ahead of sentencing showed Harries had demonstrated “shame, remorse and guilt” for his actions.

Allan added that his client had been living in “extremely difficult circumstances” since the offence.

The defence solicitor submitted two references from employers describing Harries as a man “well thought of” and as a hard worker dedicated to providing for his family.

The 26 year old has also since sought help to deal with his drinking.

Sheriff Philip Mann said there was “absolutely no doubt” in his mind that the offence could merit a custodial sentence but eventually decided that justice was served by imposing unpaid work and a six month long curfew.