Carron welder broke man's jaw after being threatened with knife

A welder was fined more than £2300 after breaking the jaw of a man who pulled a knife on him.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 9:51 am

Neil O'Brien, 24, had gone to meet the knifeman over “trouble” he had been causing a friend, Falkirk Sheriff Court was told on Tuesday.

The court heard that an argument had ensued over the phone between O'Brien and the man, Gavin Christie, over a suspicion that Mr Christie had been bombarding his ex-partner, O'Brien's friend, with calls from a withheld number.

Prosecutor Cheryl Clark said: “Mr Christie told the accused he wasn't scared and he wouldn't back down.”

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Carron welder Neil O'Brien broke the jaw of a man who pulled a knife on him. Picture: John Devlin.

O'Brien suggested they should meet at the Carron Co-op “to discuss things further”.

O'Brien then turned up with a third man at the Co-Op and chatted with Mr Christie “for a few minutes”.

Ms Clark said it was agreed they did not want any trouble, but the situation then “escalated”.

Mr Christie pulled out a kitchen knife he had brought with him and told O'Brien and the third man to stay away from him.

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Ms Clark said: “He was told not to be so stupid with the knife, resulting in him apparently throwing the knife away behind a bush.

“O'Brien then said, ‘You think you're a hard man, bringing a knife?’ and there was then a physical altercation resulting in Mr Christie being punched.”

He was then assaulted by O'Brien.

O'Brien was arrested and told police that he had retaliated by punching Mr Christie, claiming Mr Christie had “gone for him”.

After being cautioned and charged, he said: “I think it was only self-defence, not an assault, considering he had a knife.”

Mr Chrisitie suffered several fractures to his jaw, which had to be surgically repaired with three separate metal plates.

O'Brien, of Carron, pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Christie, under provocation, to his severe injury.

The incident occurred in the early hours of December 13, 2020 near the Co-Op at Carron Retail Park.

Solicitor Simon Hutchison, defending, said that “despite his young years” O'Brien had a good job earning £40,000 a year, owned his own house and could pay a fine.

Sheriff Derek Hamilton fined the first offender £2325.

He said: “I take into account the circumstances you found yourself in, but clearly this was still a serious assault which resulted in a significant injury.”

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