An unemployed man who fought with a relative in a town centre alley has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.
Sheriff Andrew Berry told George McPhee he could have faced a lengthy spell in jail for the offence, coupled with an unexpired part of an early release order imposed for an unrelated offence.
McPhee, 48, of 2 Murchison Street, Wick, appeared from custody and admitted a breach of the peace near the Wetherspoon’s pub in the town’s Market Square on January 31.
The town’s sheriff court heard he had been drinking heavily and had no recollection of the incident.
His agent, solicitor Clare Russell, suggested a community payback order be imposed and said being unemployed and having time on his hands meant McPhee was more likely to drink and get into trouble.
Sheriff Berry said that because of his extensive record the courts were always bound to consider a prison sentence when he appeared in the dock.
But he ordered McPhee to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, during which he will be under the supervision of the social work department.