Appearing at Forfar Sheriff Court today Stuart Mackie (60), Southfield Drive, Slamannan, had already admitted culpable and reckless conduct on the A90 in Angus, just south of Forfar, last December.
The court heard Mackie, whose firm is currently working on Queensferry Crossing maintenance and the building of the Buchanan Wharf campus in Glasgow for Barclays Bank, “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 car, a red Vauxhall Astra, being driven by 37-year-old Bryan McNally.
The noise of the projectile striking his driver’s window caused a shock to Mr McNally, but the glass did not break.
Jill Drummond, procurator fiscal depute, said in the run-up to the incident, an “issue” appeared to have developed between the pair, who were both driving north.
She 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 Drumond 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.”
Mr McNally was able to turn his dashcam towards Mackie’s van to capture the catapult being fired.
Defence solicitor Edward Targowski QC 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 said Mackie had 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. The other driver, by coincidence, is someone who is known to him in the course of his business.”
Mr Targowski said Mackie was responsible for the employment of “a number of sub-contractors”, his firm paid a “substantial amount of tax” annually, and he would be able to pay “any fine”.
But Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown said a custodial sentence was a possibility.
She deferred sentence until September 19 for background reports and a restriction of liberty order assessment, stating she would view the video footage at the sentencing hearing.