A 12-YEAR-OLD boy had his jaw broken in a playground fight over stolen cigarettes.
He was left unable to eat solid food for six weeks after surgeons were forced to use metal plates to rebuild his face.
His attacker was just 15 at the time of the assault, in the grounds of a Perth secondary school, a court heard.
The younger boy took the blame for stealing the cigarettes in a bid to protect his friend. He had his jaw broken in two places.
Depute fiscal John Malpass told the Perth Sheriff Court: “The complainer is a first-year pupil and the accused was in fourth year.
“They were known to each other because the accused is friends with the complainer’s brother.
“During school hours a packet of cigarettes was stolen from the accused’s locker. This was done by a friend of the complainer.
“At around 1pm the complainer and some of his friends were walking to a nearby snack van and as they walked across the grounds they witnessed the accused walking towards them.
“The complainer approached the accused and told him he had taken the cigarettes. He decided to take the blame because he thought he would not be harmed due to the accused knowing his brother.
“Without warning the accused punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground.
“Witnesses attempted to get the complainer to his feet but he was dazed and unable to stand. He was bleeding heavily from his mouth.
“The accused appeared to regret his actions immediately and tried to help the complainer to his feet.”
Mr Malpass added that the victim’s jaw was broken in two places and he had to undergo surgery.
Solicitor David Holmes, defending, said that the accused, who has since turned 16, has now left the school.
He said: “Because of this most unfortunate incident the accused was unable to continue at school. He attempted to arrange an apprenticeship but that has since fallen through.
“He is very sorry and was instantly sorry. He went to the aid of the complainer.
“There had been a previous theft from his locker and he accepts that his actions were disproportionate.”
On Tuesday the boy pled guilty to assaulting the younger pupil to his severe injury and impairment on March 24 this year. Neither boy can be named for legal reasons.
Sheriff Gillian Wade told the accused: “This was a very serious offence – there was a significant degree of force used.”
Sentence was deferred until next month for reports.