A football thug who attacked a rival supporter in Dundee city centre has had his sentence almost halved on appeal.
Judges ruled that despite committing a “wholly unprovoked, vicious” assault, William Simpson should serve five months instead of the 11 originally imposed.
Simpson, of Balunie Drive, had seen Dundee FC lose 3-1 at home to Aberdeen on December 29.
The member of the Alliance Under Fives casuals group then targeted Connor Leslie, who was making his way to the railway station, after asking if he was an Aberdeen fan.
Police CCTV cameras captured the attack and Simpson admitted at the city’s sheriff court in July to punching his victim on the head, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly punching him on the head and kicking him on his body to his injury.
He was sentenced to 11 months’ detention at Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution and banned from attending football matches for 30 months. Simpson appealed against his detention.
The Appeal Court studied a report from Sheriff Alastair Brown, who said the CCTV recording had shown Simpson approach the scene of the assault in Shore Terrace in a “swaggering and aggressive” manner.
“It was my opinion that it was a particularly unpleasant incident in which a man, on his own in a public place, was assaulted with no immediately obvious reason except for the fact that he was an Aberdeen supporter, was knocked to the ground and punched several times and kicked.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the appellant is a first offender, I consider that that was so serious to merit not only a custodial disposal but a starting point at the maximum of 12 months.
“I discounted that to take account of the stage at which the plea was tendered,” Sheriff Brown added.
Simpson’s agent argued the sentence was excessive. His client had given up drinking and had shown genuine remorse. He had also experienced the “short sharp shock” of eight weeks’ detention before being released pending his appeal.
The Appeal Court was asked to consider ordering Simpson to do unpaid work in the community as an alternative to custody.
Delivering the ruling, Lady Smith said: “We agree…this was a very serious offence. The assault by the appellant was wholly unprovoked, vicious and motivated by allegiance to a football team.
“That context was of particular significance. Experience has shown there is serious and real risk of any violence that occurs between football supporters escalating.”
The judge said Sheriff Brown had been right to consider that only a custodial sentence was appropriate but, given Simpson was a first offender and the other “positive factors” referred to by his agent, he had erred in determining the length of sentence.
Simpson’s football banning order remains in force.