A STRATHMIGLO man has been jailed for a year for an assault at the local bowling club that left another man with a broken neck.
Mark Hill punched 56-year-old Eric Flynn to the ground during Strathmiglo Bowling Club’s annual darts and dominoes competition on Boxing Day last year.
Cupar Sheriff Court heard last Thursday that Mr Flynn spent six months in hospital after experiencing a loss of feeling in his arms and legs.
Although he has made good progress since the incident, Mr Flynn can still only walk with the aid of a frame and needs help with day-to-day tasks such as washing and dressing.
The court heard that the former landscape gardener is unlikely ever to work again.
Depute procurator fiscal Joanne Smith described how Hill and Mr Flynn were seen arguing with each other in the club’s lounge area at around 5pm on Boxing Day before shaking hands.
Ms Smith said: “By early evening the majority of people in the club were heavily under the influence of alcohol.
“During a game of pool shortly after 7pm, Mr Flynn was again offering to shake hands with the accused, who appeared to witnesses to be reluctant to do so.
“Shortly thereafter, Mr Flynn was seen to approach the accused from behind.
“Mr Flynn tapped him on the shoulder to try and get his attention but caused the accused to spill his drink, leaving him extremely angry at that point.”
Ms Smith went on: “At about 7.45pm witnesses heard a commotion.
“The accused was seen to turn towards Mr Flynn and punch him once to the head with his right fist.
“Mr Flynn fell to the floor beside the pool table with his head facing the bar area and appeared to be unconscious.”
Hill (48), of High Street, pleaded guilty to assulting Mr Flynn to his severe injury and permanent impairment.
Speaking in mitigation, defence agent Jaclyn Meisel said: “Mr Hill is profoundly sorry about the consequences and the injuries caused by his actions, which have been devastating for Mr Flynn.
“He did not intend to cause Mr Flynn any long-term pain or suffering.
“Mr Hill’s position is that Mr Flynn was being a nuisance on the day.
“In anger he threw a punch which landed on the side of the complainer’s head, causing him to fall to the ground.
“On the face of it this was was a relatively minor incident — however, the consequences have been completely tragic.”
Sentencing Hill to 12 months in prison, Sheriff Charles Macnair said: “This is a clear example of how the seriousness of the injuries arising from an assault can be a matter of chance.
“In this case a single punch has caused very significant injury, the results of which are almost certain to be permanent.
“When sentencing I have to take into account the level of violence used, but also the level of injury caused.”