Slamannan driver fired catapult at car on dual carriageway

editorial image

A construction firm boss saw red and fired a catapult at a business contact’s company car in a road-rage incident as they reached speeds of up to sixty miles an hour along on the A90 highway.

Stuart Mackie (64), a contracts director of a company currently working on Queensferry Crossing maintenance, “took his hands off the wheel” of his Ford Transit van and shot a folded-up cigarette packet out of his passenger window at the red Vauxhall Astra, being driven 37-year-old Bryan McNally.

Mr McNally was “shocked” by the noise of the projectile striking his driver’s window, but fortunately the glass did not break.

Mackie, Southfield Drive, Slamannan, appeared for sentence at Forfar Sheriff Court yesterday after pleading guilty last month to culpable and reckless conduct, placing Mr McNally in danger of sustaining injury by firing the catapult “with a complete disregard for the consequences”.

Prosecutor Jill Drummond said in run-up to the incident, which occurred in December 2018 on the A90 in Angus, just south of Forfar, an “issue” appeared to have developed between the pair, who were both driving north.

Miss Drummond said there had been “gestures between the two” who had been “basically overtaking each other”.

Mackie pulled into a lay-by, but set off again, catching Mr McNally up.

Then Mr McNally, unable to overtake a vehicle in front due to the presence of Mackie’s speed-limited van doing its maximum of 60 miles an hour in the fast lane, pulled alongside in the nearside lane.

Miss Drummond, the depute procurator fiscal, said: “At this point the accused takes his hands off the wheel and fires a catapult out of the nearside window at Mr McNally’s vehicle.

“There appears to have been a bit of behaviour between the two for a certain period, and then the accused has taken the step of firing the catapult.”

The court heard Mr McNally had been able to turn his dashcam towards Mackie’s van to capture the catapult being fired.

Edward Targowski, QC, defending, said Mackie kept the catapult for pigeons on construction sites.

He said: “What was fired was a folded cigarette packet, so it wasn’t a pellet or a hard projectile. It was the noise when it hit the car that was the shock.”

He added Mackie acted “in the heat of the moment”, had only “historical” previous convictions, and drove over 30,000 miles a year in his capacity as a civil engineering firm company director.

Mr Targowski said: “It was completely out of character and he regrets what he has done, more so because the other driver, by coincidence, is someone who is known professionally to him in the course of his business.”

Mr Targowski said Mackie was responsible for the employment of “a number of sub-contractors”.

Mackie was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.