Knocking out victim in scrap leads to £400 fine for Lerwick resident

Bad blood between two men resulted in a fight – and ended with one of them being knocked unconscious.

Lerwick resident George Birse knocked out his rival after the two “hot-blooded males with too much drink” got into a drunken scrap in the town’s Commercial Road.

The incident happened on 22nd October last year when Birse, 24, of Hillhead, was on bail.

Birse admitted conducting himself in a disorderly manner when he appeared in the dock today before Sheriff Philip Mann.

He pleaded guilty to breaching the peace and fighting the man, in the course of which his victim was knocked out cold.

The court heard the “catalyst” for the dispute was a past crime carried out by Birse.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the victim in the latest incident was related to the subject of the previous offence.

“The complainer is a cousin of the complainer in the indictment matter, so there was ill-feeling present,” he said.

Mr MacKenzie said the complainer had seen Birse on the street and approached him in order to remonstrate with him.

“There was no great wisdom in doing that. With two young men full of drink, the ability to properly mediate and resolve disputes was virtually non-existent.”

Mr MacKenzie added that the “verbal altercation” soon descended into a “physical altercation”.

He said: “In the course of that fight a punch was thrown and the victim was rendered unconscious.”

The police were nearby and came to the scene. The victim was taken to hospital but did not require any treatment.

“This is a case which exemplifies that drink doesn’t mix with dispute resolution, and both parties would have been well advised to keep well away from each other,” the fiscal added.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Birse had pleaded guilty to a reduced libel in the other case and was made subject to a community payback order, which he had now completed satisfactorily.

Mr Allan said that matter had developed after a group of people had entered a flat.

“The complainer here is one of that group. When he saw Mr Birse he decided to … ‘discuss the matter further’ might be a charitable way of putting it.”

Mr Allan said two of the victim’s friends were also present, but added Birse accepted his judgment could have been better. He added that Birse “desisted” from his behaviour as soon as his victim was knocked out.

Sheriff Philip Mann highlighted “the foolishness of trying to engage in a conversation about sensitive matters like this when you’re full of drink”.

“It just does not mix,” he told Birse.

The sheriff took into account that the other party had to bear “some responsibility” and fined Birse £400 – £50 of which related to the bail aggravation.


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