A row over a rejected drugs demand resulted in a street brawl between two friends with one being stabbed and the other having a piece of his ear bitten off.
A nearby householder watched as Inverness man Martin Henderson, 33, swung the knife “like a madman” at his close friend Lee Morrison in the early hours of February 3.
Henderson, of Springfield Gardens, was jailed for 14 months at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday after earlier admitting assaulting Mr Morrison in Gilbert Street, Inverness by presenting a knife at him, and striking him on the head and body to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement.
However, after hearing from defence lawyer Willie Young, Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood criticised Morrison’s involvement in the disturbance, allowing him to impose a lesser sentence.
The Sheriff said: “I accept that Mr Morrison was the aggressor and to some extent the author of his own misfortune as his behaviour was appalling.
“But the use of a knife in a public street will not be tolerated.”
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Sentence had been deferred last month for a background report on hotel chef Henderson.
At that hearing, fiscal depute Robert Weir told the Sheriff that Mr Morrison was the initial aggressor but Henderson drew a large kitchen knife.
“He was seen to make a series of frenzied slashes in the direction of Morrison who was observed to attempt to strike back with his fists ‘lashing out.’
“The witness reported to the police that Henderson was swinging the knife like a madman and was heard to repeatedly shout: ‘I am going to stab you.’ “ Mr Weir went on.
When Henderson was taken to Burnett Road and searched, nine tablets of Class C drug Xanax were found in his possession. He admitted this offence and a breach of a bail curfew as well as previous convictions. Morrison sustained a number of cuts to his face, ear, stomach and arm with the facial injuries resulting in permanent scarring, the court was told.
Mr Young said that his client had been self-medicating with Xanax for anxiety and Mr Morrison knew this.
The solicitor said Morrison arranged to meet Henderson who refused his friend’s demand for some of his drugs.
He added: “My client was struck and started backing off, being concerned for his safety. He was screaming at Mr Morrison that he would knife him in the hope it would ward him off but it didn’t.”
The court heard Henderson had just finished work, still had his knife set in his rucksack, and pulled one of them out.
“He was not the aggressor but made a serious error of judgement by taking this item out from his bag. The two fell to the ground, blows were exchanged and the injuries caused. My client had a significant part of his ear bitten off.”