An angry farmer assaulted his neighbour with a bull-herding stick after his amorous animal got loose among the next-door farm’s cows.
James Lawrie punched his neighbour in the face and struck him with a fibreglass drain rod, breaking his thumb and smashing his teeth in an altercation over the straying bull.
The Aberdeen-Angus had wandered into his neighbour’s field and began mingling with the cows there.
A court heard that Lawrie, 58, assisted by a young farmhand, had been using the fibreglass drain rod as a stick to “escort” the bull back to his own family farm when the neighbour, Martin Wallace, 60, returned from a trip to Edinburgh to find the process of recovering the bull continuing and a “confrontation” occurred.
Stirling Sheriff Court was told the assault happened on July 20 2018 after the agriculturalists came together at the “march fence” dividing Lawrie’s father’s land at Upper Whitestone Farm, from Mr Wallace’s fields at Inns of Balhaldie Farm, both beside the A9 north of Dunblane, Perthshire.
Mr Wallace, who works as an engineer as well as being a farmer, told the court he had gone to “see what was happening” after noticing Lawrie and the farmhand “chasing” the bull in his field at Inns of Balhaldie, where he had lived since 2003.
He said a “confrontation” then arose.
He said he had wanted to find out who owned the bull, as it was in the field with his cows.
He said he would be concerned about any bull being in a field with his cows and, while remaining on his own side of the boundary fence, he asked Lawrie who the animal belonged to.
He said Lawrie replied “with abuse and profanities” and when he turned to talk to the farmhand who was there also, Lawrie struck him in the face, breaking four dental crowns.
Asked what he was struck with, Mr Wallace said: “I assume it was a fist, but to be honest I don’t know.”
He said he was “stunned”, and put his hand up, whereupon Lawrie struck him on the hand with the brass-tipped fibreglass drain rod.
He said Lawrie used “considerable force” and he staggered back disorientated.
He said his nose was burst, the roots were damaged of the four teeth which had crowns, and as a result he had to get dental implants.
The blow to the hand broke his thumb at the knuckle joint, which he had to get reset.
Lawrie did not give evidence but denied assault, claiming he had acted in self-defence.
After a summary trial he was found guilty of assaulting Mr Wallace to his severe injury and impairment, and reports were called for.
He appeared again for sentence on Wednesday.
Solicitor Virgil Crawford, defending, said a medical assessment showed his client would be fit for “light duties” if given a community-based disposal.
Sheriff Wyllie Robertson placed Lawrie under social work supervision for two years, and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
He also ordered him to pay Mr Wallace £1,000 compensation.
He told him: “That is an alternative to custody and if you breach this order you will be liable to imprisonment.”