A scaffolder who injured a man when horseplay went wrong has been ordered to pay his victim £2,000.
Paul Austin attacked Greg Sutherland in Tain’s Bank Street on May 2, 2015, after misconstruing the situation during a pub crawl.
Mr Sutherland suffered a fractured cheek bone and a broken nose as a result of the assault.
However, Inverness Sheriff Court heard yesterday that 32-year-old Austin “buried his head in the sand” and escaped south to England rather than face court proceedings.
But the law caught up with him in August last year, and after spending 140 days on remand, the £800-a-week scaffolder was ordered to pay his victim the cash within two months and carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work.
At an earlier hearing, the court heard that Mr Sutherland had jokingly put a companion in a head-lock as they moved from one pub to another.
The pair then had a laugh about it. But fiscal depute Robert Weir told Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood that another man had misconstrued what had occurred in Bank Street and rushed to intervene.
He was put to the ground by Mr Sutherland who was himself punched several times by a third man.
It was then that 32 year old Paul Austin joined in the melee, the court heard, shouting to Mr Sutherland: “What have you done to my mate?.”
He was initially restrained by one of the group but broke free and punched Mr Sutherland on the head, leaving his face covered in blood.
Austin, described as an Inverness prisoner, admitted assaulting Mr Sutherland to his severe injury and permanent impairment by punching him on the head.
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Defence solicitor Alison Foggo said: “He has been living in Shrewsbury and has a well-paid job. He was arrested at a security point at a music festival.
“He had been burying his head in the sand. He wanted to come back and take responsibility but as time went on, it became more difficult for him to contemplate putting things right.
“He has had a trouble-free life since, his employer thinks highly of him and is happy to re-employ him and his intention is to return to Shrewsbury.”