An assault victim invited a Nairn man to hit him when the two confronted each other in the street during a disturbance.
But 28-year-old Darren Robb’s single punch broke Stephen McConnel’s jaw and he had to write down a note to his partner asking to be taken to hospital because he couldn’t speak.
Inverness Sheriff Court heard that Mr McConnell’s jaw had been broken in two places in the Merryton Crescent altercation on August 5 last year.
However Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood told Robb that he didn’t have to punch Mr McConnell or “choose to go where the violence was.”
Instead of sending him to prison, the sheriff ordered Robb to pay his victim £1,000 in compensation, carry out 225 hours of unpaid work and remain under social work supervision for two years.
Defence solicitor Duncan Henderson said his client accepted he didn’t have to hit Mr McConnell and that the level of injury was “high.”
“There was a disturbance in the street and my client went out to try and talk it down but got involved with Mr McConnell.”
Sentence had been deferred at an earlier hearing for a background report on Robb.
Previously, fiscal depute Ross Carvel said that Mr McConnell tried to get closer to a nearby address after hearing a woman scream.
But Robb, of Penny Lane, Nairn, said: “just leave them to it, what will happen will happen” and held Mr McConnell’s arm, Mr Carvel added.
He went on: “Mr McConnell then heard his name being said, turned round and Robb punched him on the head. Mr McConnell held his jaw and returned home to write down a request to his partner to take him to A&E as he couldn’t speak.
“He suffered two fractures on the left side of his jaw, was operated on, on August 11 and metal plates were inserted. As a result it is likely he will suffer numbness of his lip and part of his chin which may be permanent. He may also require further surgery. He was unable to eat solids for seven weeks and was off work without income for two months.
“Consequently his finances worsened to the extent that his house was at risk and put a strain on his relationship.
“He has been having mini-flashbacks and sought help for the psychological impact the assault has had on him.”