A Forfar man and his father-in-law who went armed with a coping stone and a hammer to tackle a man they believed had been spreading rumours have avoided going behind bars for the incident.
Mark Lamb and Charles Smith’s target escaped serious injury in what a sheriff described as an “extraordinarily fortunate” outcome.
At the town’s Sheriff Court, 32-year-old Lamb, of Steadfast Lane and Smith, 58, of Strang Street, both Forfar, admitted charges in relation to the incident at Archies Park on May 24.
Lamb pleaded guilty to assaulting Marshall Baer by attempting to strike him on the head with a coping stone and repeatedly punching him on the head and body.
Smith admitted breaching the peace by uttering threats of violence while brandishing a hammer.
Depute fiscal Stewart Duncan said the victim was at home around 8pm when his partner received a phone call from Mr Smith making an accusation that Mr Baer had been spreading rumours and they would be coming to his house.
Around 20 minutes later, both accused appeared there and when the complainer answered the door, Lamb produced a coping stone – taken from the wall outside the house – and tried to hit him with it.
“Mr Baer went backwards and Lamb got on top of him and started punching him,” said the fiscal.
The co-accused and the complainer’s partner then intervened, but after walking away Smith then produced a hammer from the waistband of his trousers shouting threats he would use it.
Lamb’s solicitor said his client was “genuinely sorry” for the offence and had only one previous conviction from a number of years ago.
Smith’s lawyer, Brian Bell, said his client suffers from severe alcohol misuse difficulties and had little recollection of the incident, but accepted the evidence of witnesses to the events.
Sheriff Gregor Murray told Lamb: “It was pre-meditated that you went to this man’s home, and you are extraordinarily fortunate your attempt to hit the complainer with a coping stone missed.
“There is, just, an alternative to imprisonment in this case,” he added.
Lamb was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work under a two-year Community Payback Order.
The sheriff told Smith: “The offence you committed is only slightly less serious.
“Anyone in possession of a hammer shouting and swearing in these circumstances is likely to do something stupid and, like Mr Lamb, you are fortunate that nothing more serious did happen.”
Sentence on Smith was deferred until September 27 for the preparation of a criminal justice social work report.