Two men who launched one of the most serious assaults dealt with in court by Sheriff Graeme Napier were each given prison sentences of almost five years today at Lerwick Sheriff Court.
Dale Henry, 29, of Lerwick, was jailed for 52 months and Damian Hunt, 27, also Lerwick, was sentenced to 57 months after they admitted turning on their victim without warning in Lerwick’s Sandveien on 3rd May.
They left him severely injured and permanently impaired after kicking and stamping repeatedly on his head and body. The two then tried to cover their tracks and failed to summon help. Hunt was on bail at the time of the offence.
They falsely believed the victim had previously forced himself upon Hunt’s ex-girlfriend for sex.
The court had previously heard their victim was now not the same man and would never make a full recovery.
Their victim had been so badly assaulted that police officers who knew him did not recognise him.
Sentencing the pair, the sheriff said: “This is one of the worst assaults I have seen that has not led to either the death of the victim or, at the very least, prosecution in the High Court.”
Defence agent for Henry, Gregor Kelly, said his client had been drunk on cider and vodka when the assault took place. He could not remember much about the incident, but accepted his guilt.
“He now wishes to apologise for his part in the assault. He was stunned by the pictures [taken of the victim] and has been sickened by his part in the assault.”
He said Henry had been encouraged by Hunt, but was “man enough” to accept responsibility for his part in the incident.
Mr Kelly said Henry had come to accept there was a link between his alcohol intake and his offending behaviour, although he had come off other drugs since going “cold turkey”.
He added Henry had been to the gym and was “extremely disciplined” in his fitness regime to help him adopt a healthy lifestyle.
However Sheriff Napier pointed to a background report which said Henry “enjoys fighting, and feels calm after fighting”.
The court was told Henry had made plans for the future, and aimed to move away from the isles to get away from the peer pressures which had influenced his behaviour.
“He has some contacts in the central belt and hopes to gain employment.”
Hunt’s agent Tommy Allan said his client had been under no illusion about how serious the incident was. He added he had committed the offence after “an element of hysteria” had built up when the two had received information from other people.
“Mr Hunt knows that there is no excuse for this. Whatever motivation he had at the time was misplaced.”
Adding he had got “carried away”, he said Hunt’s face visibly changed colour when he was shown the photographs of his victim.
“He has exhibited bravado in these procedings and that was all washed out when he saw the result of his actions.”
Sheriff Napier said the “vigilantism” the two had embarked on was “abhorrent”.
“[In sentencing] I have to reflect not only the significant injuries sustained, as this was an entirely innocent victim, I have also to reflect the fact that both of you set about this man because you thought you could take the law into your own hands.
“Irrespective of what people think of the law that applies, it is the law that applies.”
Sending them down, he added: “The sentence I have imposed may seem severe, but they are not as severe as the sentence you imposed upon your victim.”
Both sentences were backdated to 12th May when the pair were first taken into custody.