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Court / Men ordered to pay £8k in compensation for ‘moment of madness’ assault

Lerwick Sheriff Court. Photo: Shetland News

TWO MEN from the Central Belt who committed a violent assault on two people working in Shetland have avoided prison sentences – but have been ordered to pay £8,000 in compensation between them.

Steven Hazel and Craig Donaldson were both given community payback orders when they appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday morning.

They were sentenced for their part in an assault on two brothers in a chalet in Scalloway on 27 March last year which left the men with a number of injuries.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said it was a “most serious” incident but after taking everything into account, including the conclusions of social work reports, he ruled that there was an alternative to a custodial sentence.

Hazel, 40, of Hilton Terrace, Fallin, had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, while 40-year-old Donaldson, of Holbeath Avenue, Glasgow, admitted a charge of assault to severe injury.

The court previously heard that the assault on the two victims was described as a premeditated attack for a “perceived wrongdoing of a very minor nature”.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie previously said Hazel and Donaldson, who were also staying at the chalet complex while working in Shetland, had confronted the two brothers over a broken wing mirror a few nights before.

He went on to describe how a couple of nights later the two attackers barged into the chalet, with Hazel repeatedly punching, kicking and butting his victim on the head and body, repeatedly stamping on his body, gouging his eyes and placing him in a headlock.

Meanwhile Donaldson assaulted the other brother in a similar fashion.

The assault victims were able to alert the chalet owner, and police were then called.

Both victims were taken to hospital where one of the men required a total of 20 stitches to cuts above both eyebrows and a number of deep wounds at the back of his head.

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He also suffered haemorrhaging, soft tissue damage all over his body and bite wounds to his left arm.

The other man sustained four fractured ribs and bruising around the right eye, as well as swelling to the back of his head.

During the assault both Hazel and Donaldson uttered derogatory comments toward their victims’ Irish nationality, which were proof of a “deep seated racial bias”, the court previously heard.

At Wednesday’s sentencing, Hazel’s defence agent Tommy Allan said the incident was described as out of character for his client, and called it a “moment of madness”.

He said Hazel recognised the effect the assault would have had on the victim and those who witnessed the aftermath, as well as his own family.

“He’s very aware there’s a victim here who’s permanently scarred,” Allan said, both physically and mentally, after the “horrific ordeal”.

But the solicitor said Hazel was deemed to be at low risk of reoffending, and added that sending him to custody would have a significant impact on his family.

Speaking on behalf of Donaldson via videolink, defence agent Michael Bell said his client did not seek to “deny or minimise” his assault.

“It appears there is genuine remorse,” he added.

Regarding the assault, Bell said Donaldson has had time to reflect on his “utter stupidity” at getting involved.

He told court that Donaldson, who had been drinking at the time, was not involved in any pre-planning.

Sheriff Cruickshank said the assaults were very serious and came as a result of a misguided notion – following which the pair “took the law into their own hands”.

He placed Hazel under a community payback order which included a requirement to pay his victim £4,500 in compensation.

Hazel was also given an 18-month supervision and 225 hours of unpaid work to complete.

Donaldson was similarly given 18 months supervision, but with 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay £3,500 to his victim in compensation.

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