Year in prison for Mossbank man who violently assaulted friend

A man who violently assaulted a friend after a night of heavy drinking has been sentenced to 12 months in prison.

John Hutcheson, 21, of Leaside in Mossbank, forced the man to the ground before carrying out an assault in September last year.

He was restrained several times, but struggled free to resume his attack. At one point he launched a “scissors kick” on his victim as if he was kicking a football.

Hutcheson had previously admitted carrying out the assault, repeatedly stamping and kicking the man’s head and body.

A second man helped the victim back to his house. But Hutcheson followed them. When told to leave he responded by spitting in the second man’s face. The men were all players for the Mossbank football team.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court today, Hutcheson was described as “belligerent” and “aggressive”.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Hutcheson and his first victim had left a house, where a party had been taking place, at 4am.

They chatted as they left. But other people walking home from the party heard a scuffle and aggressive shouting.

They ran to where the noise had been coming from and saw Hutcheson engaged in a “protracted and systematic violent assault”.

Mr MacKenzie said the victim was curled up on the ground trying to protect himself. Witnesses saw Hutcheson repeatedly stamping on him and kicking him.

They tried to restrain him but he managed to break free from them before resuming his assault.

When he was restrained a second time the victim started trying to get up, but Hutcheson broke free again.

Mr MacKenzie said Hutcheson “performed a scissors kick, jumping into the air and kicking his head as if it was a football”.

Witnesses said if he did not stop he would end up killing his victim. Then the man partially got to his feet again. But Hutcheson broke free once more and punched him repeatedly.

Fatigued, he finally allowed himself to be pulled away from his victim.

“It’s almost incredible that the injuries were not more serious,” said Mr MacKenzie.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Hutcheson had not sought to shrink from his responsibilities after the incident.

He pointed to a background report which showed Hutcheson had a good job, and said the evening in question had had an effect on Hutcheson himself.

Mr Allan added there were major unresolved issues in Hutcheson’s life, and that Hutcheson had himself been a victim of violence.

He added Hutcheson knew he became violent after drinking alcohol, and was ashamed of what he did.

“He has presented to me as someone who is genuinely very sorry for what has happened and he has not sought to minimise it. He is ashamed of what he did to someone he counted on as a friend.”

He conceded Hutcheson would likely receive a custodial sentence, but he urged Sheriff Philip Mann to consider alternatives. He said Hutcheson would be able to keep his job if he was given a community-based disposal. That, in turn, would help him to pay compensation to his victim.

However the sheriff imposed a custodial sentence.

“I have a public duty and it seems to me I would be failing in my public duty if I was to dispose of this matter in any way other than a custodial sentence,” he told Hutcheson.

“Just as you have not shrinked from accepting your responsibility for what you have done, I cannot shrink from accepting my public duty.”

The sheriff also ordered Hutcheson abide by a four-month supervised release order, which will see him subject to a curfew and will also prevent him from either drinking alcohol or entering licensed premises.

“If when you come out you start to drink there is a risk of serious harm to the public.”


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