Even Sheriff Craig Caldwell was “surprised and concerned” to have Greg Schofield (22) and Martyn Webster (27) before him at Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday and not have any charges brought against Barry Doudie, who set upon the men armed with a knife.
Both Schofield and Webster previously admitted the assault in Newhouse Road, Grangemouth on June 26 last year, repeatedly punching and kicking Doudie, who was on the ground, until he was unconscious.
Murray Aitken, defending Schofield, said: “Mr Webster was taken to hospital with a stab wound. It was captured on CCTV – it’s not difficult to work out what happened.
“They were minding their own business waiting for a taxi. Mr Schofield accepts he could have dealt with it differently, but his friend had been stabbed and he was fearful for his own safety.”
Sheriff Caldwell said: “I’m surprised that a man who apparently assaults you with a knife has remained free of these proceedings. Then you, who did not instigate these proceedings, find yourselves before this court for a very serious charge indeed.
“I’m surprised and concerned about that. Nevertheless, you are here because of your reaction to Mr Doudie’s actions against your companion and the response to this was overzealous.
“It was Mr Doudie who brought the violence to this occasion and also brought a weapon. Members of the public will understand why you both reacted the way you did.
“You are two young men of otherwise good character.”
Sheriff Caldwell placed both Schofield, 27 St Margaret’s Crescent, Polmont, and Webster, 12 Kinloch Place, Grangemouth, on a community payback order for four months with the condition they both complete 120 hours of unpaid work in that time.
“In future, you must turn away from encounters like this,” added the sheriff.