A man bit part of his stepfather’s ear off in a drunken row over whether a sportsman was Scottish or British.
Lee Clarke was ordered to pay his stepfather £1,200, placed on a tag and given community service for the assault which left Alistair Wilson permanently disfigured.
Sheriff Chris Dickson told Clarke he had admitted a very serious offence but added that a plea was accepted on the basis that he acted under provocation having been put in a headlock by Mr Wilson and being unable to breathe.
The sheriff said he had taken into account Clarke had no previous convictions, had shown remorse and was a low risk of reoffending. This persuaded him to hand down a non-custodial sentence.
The court in Inverness previously heard how an argument began after a lot of drink had been consumed about 2am on 14 August at his mother and stepfather’s address in the city’s Esk Road last year.
Clarke, 34, admitted assaulting Mr Wilson to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement.
Mr Wilson had part of his ear reattached but it failed to heal and he declined plastic surgery reconstruction.
The court had been told Clarke became involved in a conversation with Mr Wilson about the national identity of the sportsman and an argument ensued about whether he was British or Scottish.
The conversation ended in an argument and then there was a struggle between Clarke and Mr Wilson. The pair landed on the floor and Clarke bit Mr Wilson’s right ear, severing part of it.
Police and ambulance were called by Clarke’s mother Mandy Wilson and officers found a large amount of blood smeared over the living room floor and on the wall between the bathroom and bedrooms.
Clarke claimed he had acted in self defence to police but regretted what he did.
He said he and Mr Wilson had been arguing and Mr Wilson grabbed him in a headlock which left him unable to breathe. Clarke bit what he thought was his arm.
Solicitor Clare Russell said: “He accepts there were other actions he could have taken which could have avoided the injury to his stepfather.”
Ms Russell said Clarke was a first-time offender and it was a matter of extreme regret to him that it was a family member but he hoped they could rekindle some form of relationship. She said he was now addressing alcohol and anger management issues.