Two men have been jailed after a “Wild West bar brawl” in a north-east pub which led to one male being kicked in the head.
Tony Higgins, 32, and Garrie Clarke, 24, were both put behind bars for their parts in the large-scale pub brawl, likened to “something from a Western”, which spilled out onto the street.
Higgins, who had been to a wedding before the incident, was the “principal actor” in the disorder, but Clarke committed the most serious offence, an assault to injury and danger of life by kicking his victim in the head.
The incident happened at the Strathdeveron Bar in Huntly on the night of June 1, going into June 2 last year.
Fiscal depute Colin Neilson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court Higgins was seen by one of the customers to enter the bar shortly after 11pm, followed by his partner.
Mr Neilson said: “As he entered, the accused Higgins stared at him and made a comment towards him. He ignored this and continued drinking.
“A short time later the man looked across the bar in the direction of the pool table and saw his friend being punched repeatedly in the face by the accused Higgins.
“The man was knocked to the ground as a disturbance broke out with various patrons grabbing, pushing and fighting with each other, so was unable to intervene.
“The accused Higgins was then taken out of the locus but returned shortly after.”
The man who had been punched and his pal who witnessed it then both left the bar and walked up Deveron Street towards The Square, but became aware of a group following them which included Higgins.
Three other males who had been in the pub then also left and walked towards The Square and noticed the man who had been punched “lying on the ground with Higgins on top of him, repeatedly punching him ‘full force’ to the head”.
Mr Neilson said: “The witnesses saw the accused Clarke approach the scene and kick the man twice to the head while he was on the ground.
“One witness described the kick as having such force that he heard a loud hollow thudding sound.”
The witnesses then tried to intervene and one of them was punched “several times to the face” by Higgins.
The man who had been kicked was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by ambulance. Mr Neilson said: “He had a laceration made underneath his left eye to relieve the pressure from the swelling around it. He received sutures to close the wound.”
Both men sustained bruising and grazing.
Higgins pled guilty to assaulting the man in the bar, and to assault to injury by causing him to fall to the ground and repeatedly punching him to the head on Deveron Street.
He also admitted assault to injury by punching the second man who tried to intervene.
Clarke pled guilty to assault to injury and danger of life by repeatedly kicking the man in the head.
Defence agent Mike Monro, representing Higgins, said his client and his client’s partner had been at a wedding before attending the bar and were “quite conspicuous” due to their formal attire.
He said alcohol had been consumed by all parties, adding: “A barroom brawl broke out almost akin to something from a Western. A witness statement said ‘I remember several fights breaking out all over the place’.”
Mr Monro said Higgins had been fighting with his victim before being split up, and when the males came together again outside the bar he attacked him, punching him until being pulled away.
He accepted his client was the “principal actor in this brawl, both inside the pub and outside on the street”.
Mr Monro added: “He’s obviously not proud of his behaviour at all. His partner was particularly unimpressed.”
The solicitor also said the behaviour was “totally out of character”.
Graham Morrison, the lawyer representing Clarke, said: “He hadn’t been to the wedding but he was in the bar with others.
“To say he wasn’t involved in the initial barroom brawl is misleading. He was. He was breaking things up.
“It’s a Wild West barroom brawl and Mr Clarke is seen trying to break things up.
“Mr Clarke is being struck and the complainer hits him in the face with an elbow. There’s a lot of fighting going on and with the drink and his temper up he does what is libelled.
“It was in the course of a fight. Fortunately, there was no serious injury and there’s no bad feeling either.
“He recognises that there was potential for serious injury which is why he’s pled to the charge libelled.”
Mr Morrison added the incident had been a “wake-up call” for his client.
Sheriff William Summers said he noted the men had never served a custodial sentence before, but added: “That is about to change. These offences are so serious that there is no appropriate alternative other than for me to impose a custodial sentence.”
He ordered Higgins, of Lumsden Court, Huntly, and Clarke, of Seton Drive, Huntly, to be jailed for 18 months.