Fishermen fined over Thule attack

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Hefty fines have been levelled against three Fraserburgh fishermen who swung a pool cue at a man during an assault to injury in a Lerwick pub.

Douglas McCulloch, 25, of the town’s Buchan Road was fined £1,000 after admitting his part in the fracas at the Thule Bar last year.

Gary Strachan, 47, of North Braehead was fined £800 for being involved. But he was ordered to cough up an extra £200 for shouting and swearing at police while he was being taken to the station.

Clint Cassie, 44, of Cortes Crescent was fined £800 for his involvement in the assault.

The trio punched their victim on the head and body and kicked him repeatedly – all to his injury. The victim was taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital after suffering from “a lot of bleeding”. He required two stitches to cuts to his lip.

Meanwhile, a fourth man – 20-year-old Matthew Ritchie of Fairndale, East Moss Croft, was fined £500 after owning up to assaulting another man by punching him on the head and throwing a glass at him while on bail.

He was also ordered to pay £380 in compensation which will help pay for the replacement of a television in the pub, which he smashed.

Sentence on the four had been deferred for reports, initially until 9th January. But there were delays in getting all four back to court.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mac­Kenzie said the “drink-fuelled incident” had started when Cassie was speaking to another patron at the bar and an argument developed.

He said police were called and the four accused were detained.

After their arrest Strachan was “belligerent and arrogant”, and was making threats to female police officers, Mr MacKenzie told the court.

Defence agent Tommy Allan agreed with the fiscal’s assertion it had been a “complex” situation.

“But at the heart of it, it is quite a simple one – where four people had too much to drink in a bar that was not in their home town, and where some dispute led to a situation they all became involved in.”

He said the court commitments meant all four had suffered financial losses.

“Because of the kind of work they do it’s meant they’ve had to miss trips to sea. This isn’t a situation where they can get time off and have holidays. It doesn’t work like that for them. If they’re not at sea, they’re not earning money.”

He said Cassie had left his boat and had subsequently turned down three chances since last Thursday to go to sea because of the court case.

He added that the incident was not pre-meditated, and that it had simply got out of control because the four men had too much drink.

Sheriff Philip Mann warned McCulloch he had become involved in a “very serious offence” and that he had to be prepared to accept responsibility for what had happened.

“I have to say that when I listened to the Crown the question of custody does come into my mind, but having regard to the social work report – and despite the fact you didn’t comply very well with that process – I’m going to deal with this today with the imposition of a fine.”

He said Cassie had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and complied fully with social workers in the preparation of the report. He said Ritchie had less of a record, but insisted he pay for the damage caused to the television set.