A witness has told how his friend was “ambushed” outside a Dundee supermarket after being accused of coughing on an elderly woman.
Paul Booth, 29, was giving evidence in the trial of James Robertson, who denies stabbing a man after coughing on his mother-in-law at Iceland, Campfield Square Shopping Centre, Barnhill, last June.
Robertson then fought with Jason Coull, 49, before leaving the scene and returning to stab him in the abdomen.
However, Mr Booth, of Perth, said that his friend was falsely accused by the group and watched as Robertson was “ambushed”.
When asked by defence solicitor Sarah Russo if he could remember Robertson coughing, Mr Booth said: “It was just by accident, it was a general cough. It was an honest mistake.
“I remember James got ambushed by two women and a man. He struck James on the face with his hands.”
Jurors were told how Robertson and Mr Coull were fighting on the ground which led to Laura Fyffe, Mr Coull’s partner, and her sister Gemma intervening.
Mr Booth said that he and a bloodied Robertson drove off but he quickly left the car in order to “clear his head”.
He told Ms Russo that he returned to Robertson’s grandmother’s house where they had been carrying out chores.
Fiscal depute Lora Apostolova questioned Mr Booth on the nature of the cough inside the shop and asked why he didn’t try to help his friend.
She said: “I have to suggest to you that you are telling the court lies about what you saw. You didn’t see your friend being ambushed, you knew he coughed sarcastically and deliberately.
“You also saw him in a fight and he was on top of Mr Coull. Two women had to go and intervene.”
Mr Booth replied: “That’s not true. That didn’t happen.”
In earlier evidence, Mr Coull said he been left “traumatised” by the stabbing which occurred during the second fight with Robertson.
Mr Coull required two stitches in the side of his body and was released from Ninewells Hospital that day with painkillers.
He said: “I’ve been traumatised a wee bit.
“I get counselling and tablets. I’m still kind of shocked, I don’t go out to pubs or things like that.
“I’m just a bit more withdrawn.”
Ms Russo queried Mr Coull’s decision to confront Robertson outside the shop prior to the altercation.
She said: “You followed him because you wanted to do something about what you heard.
“You followed Mr Robertson and you threw the first punch didn’t you? You were the aggressor, you attacked Mr Robertson.”
Mr Coull responded: “No I didn’t. It was self-defence.”
Robertson, a prisoner of HMP Perth, denies assaulting Nancy Fyffe by coughing on her face, shouting about coronavirus and laughing on June 19 last year.
He allegedly repeatedly punched Mr Coull on the head and body before striking him on the head with a knife, causing him to fall to his injury.
Robertson allegedly repeatedly punched Mr Coull on the head and stabbed him on the body to his severe injury and to the danger of his life in the second incident.
Separate charges allege that he punched Laura Fyffe on the head to her injury and pushed Gemma Fyffe on the body causing her to fall to the ground and suffer a broken finger.
Robertson was also allegedly found in possession of a knife.
The trial before Sheriff Grant McCulloch continues.