Jail for Forfar football brawler

The trial took place at Dundee Sheriff Court
The trial took place at Dundee Sheriff Court

A footballer who hit his opponent with a “reckless” late tackle before breaking his opponent’s jaw when he reacted was today (Tuesday) jailed.

Ross Sinclair was playing for Plough Athletic against Queen Anne FC in the Dundee Sunday Amateur league when the match erupted into violence.

Sinclair brought down Josh McHugh with a late tackle just minutes before the end of the match, with Queen Anne FC leading 2-1.

Mr McHugh reacted furiously - hurling abuse and becoming aggressive before a scuffle broke out.

Mr McHugh was then dragged away before things escalated. But when he turned his back to walk away Sinclair ran up from behind and viciously attacked him.

Mr McHugh was left with his jaw broken in two places and had to be fitted with two metal plates and four screws.

He later said he did not want Sinclair jailed for the attack - but a sheriff today said sentencing “couldn’t be left to the victim” and jailed him for a year.

Mr McHugh told a jury at Dundee Sheriff Court that he could only eat soup for three months after the attack.

The court was told that the incident prompted the abandonment of the game - with a mass brawl then erupting off the pitch as some of those present got “vigilante justice” on Sinclair.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the jury: “You may think on some level Mr McHugh deserved a punch.

“You may also think the accused deserved the battering he got from the Queen Anne supporters in the car park later that morning, but that is not the way the law works.

“If someone acts aggressively towards you, even punches you and you respond by running up behind them whilst they are being dragged away and assault them from behind by striking them so hard that you break their jaw then that is not self defence, that is retaliation.”

Sinclair, 20, of Peffers Place, Forfar, denied a charge on indictment of assault to severe injury.

A jury of eight men and seven women took just an hour to convict him.

Today defence solicitor Paul Parker Smith said: “There is genuine regret on his part at becoming involved in this matter.

“The complainer has expressed certain views and given that and the genuine regret here I would submit your lordship could impose a penalty less than the ultimate sanction of the court.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown jailed Sinclair for a year.

He said: “You approached the complainer, who was being ushered away, and punched him so hard that bystanders heard his jaw being broken.

“This was not an incident in a game of football.

“It was an unprovoked and deliberate assault which caused serious injury.

“I can see no alternative but imprisonment.”