Published: 15/02/2016 16:08 - Updated: 15/02/2016 16:11

Strathy man admits striking six year old with a fishing rod

Sentence deferred for background reports.
Sentence deferred for background reports.

AN elderly North Sutherland  man snapped after two children banged on his doors and windows with his fishing rod.

Seventy five year old James Macleod, Steven Terrace, Strathy, went outside, grabbed the rod and struck one of the youngsters twice with it.

The six-year-old was left with bruising to his arm and upper thigh, Tain Sheriff Court heard today.

Macleod admitted assaulting the child on April 15 last year. Sentence was deferred until next month for background reports.

Stewart MacIver, prosecuting, said the boy and his slightly older cousin had been playing in the general area of Macleod’s house on the evening of the day in question.

A neighbour saw the two banging on Macleod’s gate and walls and “being somewhat annoying”.

According to the fiscal, the children had a fishing rod and were playing some game with it.

He said: “The fishing rod ended up in the accused’s garden and the boy went to retrieve it. The accused came out and was annoyed at whatever the children were doing.

“He picked up the rod and it is accepted he struck the boy twice with it.”

Mr MacIver said the children ran off and told the boy’s family about the incident. The youngster was seen by a doctor a day or two later.

The fiscal continued: “The boy had a couple of linear bruises on his arm and upper thigh. The doctor expressed the opinion that the bruises were consistent with being struck by a rod.”

Defence agent Eilidh MacDonald said her client lived on his own and had no previous convictions.

She said: “Much of what my friend (the fiscal) has said is accurate. A witness did see the children playing outside Mr Macleod’s house. They were kicking the fence and gate for about 20 minutes. Thereafter the witness went into her own house.

“The children were then in Mr Macleod’s garden playing with the fishing road. It was his rod and they were using it to strike at his door and windows.

“My client grabbed the fishing rod and, in the course of chasing the children away, he struck the boy with it. He accepts that he was annoyed at the time but said he intended to chase them away.”

The lawyer said Macleod was eager for the case to be dealt with at today’s court as he lived some distance away and had limited financial resources. He had already attended court six times in relation to the matter.

However Sheriff Chris Dickson said that “given the seriousness of this incident”, he had decided to defer sentence for the preparation of Criminal Justice social work reports.

The case will call again on March 14.

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