A Moray support worker faces losing her job after pleading guilty to a drunken assault in Elgin last year.
Sarah Sinclair kicked a man in the groin in a town centre takeaway after a night’s drinking descended into chaos.
The 43-year-old lashed out after a “misunderstanding” over who was next in line – and after a few choice words were flung back and forwards.
The altercation, on Saturday March 18 last year, led to the involvement of the police and saw Sinclair suspended from her post at Milnes Primary School as it was investigated.
Yesterday, she pleaded with a sheriff to grant her an absolute discharge as any form of conviction would likely see her sacked by employers Moray Council.
The court was told Sinclair had been out drinking when, in the early hours of the morning, she popped into a takeaway on Elgin High Street.
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There she became involved in an altercation with a man she had never met before and a brief argument ensued after there was confusion about who was to be served next.
After remarks were made to Sinclair, she reacted by kicking the man on the leg and to the “genital area”.
The support worker, of Longmorn, was suspended from her job after the allegations were reported to the police.
Defence Solicitor Matthew O’Neill described her situation as “an exceptional one” as any conviction Sinclair received would likely mean she loses her job as she works with vulnerable children.
He said: “The whole incident was a complete misunderstanding.
“After remarks were made to her, she has reacted in a manner that has caused her deep embarrassment.
“She has been going through a number of personal difficulties but instead of dealing with them head-on, she instead used alcohol.
“She cannot recall what went on that night but is taking steps to resolve her alcohol problems and has made a remarkable improvement since this night.”
Mr O’Neill asked Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov for an absolute discharge for his client, as any conviction would cause her to lose her job at Milnes Primary School.
He stressed that his client had no previous convictions or involvement with the police.
Sheriff Pasportnikov handed down a structured three month deferred sentence to enable Sinclair to undergo alcohol counselling and for her to receive documented evidence to show that she will lose her job if convicted.
It is understood Sinclair will remain suspended while Moray Council conducts its own investigation.