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Sheriff puzzled as Inverness attacker must wait longer for his fate

By Ali Morrison

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Sheriff Gary Aitken heard the case at Inverness Sheriff Court.
Sheriff Gary Aitken heard the case at Inverness Sheriff Court.

A solicitor has criticised a social worker for misinforming the court about his client who, it was claimed, refused to come out of his cell to be interviewed for a background report.

John MacColl was addressing Sheriff Gary Aitken before sentence was deferred for the second time on 22-year-old Jack Mackenzie, of Hawthorn Drive, Inverness who attacked a woman and her 17-year-old son in their home.

Mackenzie appeared from remand by video link, and had been due to be sentenced at Inverness Sheriff Court.

But last December, the sheriff was told that the report had not been done due to "unforeseen circumstances".

Defence solicitor Mr MacColl was critical of the Criminal Justice Department because the report had not been forthcoming as his client was easily accessible in custody and no full explanation had been given.

But when there was no report again, the explanation was to blame Mackenzie for not co-operating.

Mr MacColl told the court: "We categorically refute that. My client and his mother have been on the phone to me too many times that I care to remember asking when the report will be done.

"The letter states that he refused to come out of his cell. He refutes that and I can tell the court that I have heard anecdotally of two similar letters in which the content is inaccurate."

Sheriff Aitken was also puzzled and sternly repeated his demand to social work, as he instructed December 21 last year that he expected the report at the next calling on February 12.

Mr MacColl did not ask for his client to be granted bail and Mackenzie was further remanded.

Mackenzie had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of assault to severe injury, one with a telescopic baton on the woman.

The court heard that Mackenzie went to a house in Caledonian Road occupied by his two friends and was welcomed with a hug by the woman.

Fiscal depute Susan Love said: "There was a knock at her door and she welcomed him in. He was a long-time family friend and she hugged him.

"She went into the living room but heard a bang. She went out and he produced a baton and hit her with it.

"He then punched her son once and he hit his head on the television set."

The court heard that the teenager was rendered unconscious.

Ms Love said that Mackenzie was "kicked between the legs but he pushed her to the floor and hit her another twice with the baton. He told her not to tell anyone but she phoned the police."

Sheriff Aitken was told that the woman suffered a 4cm cut to her head which had to be stapled. The boy had no serious injury.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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