Mobile phone argument ends in jail

Fuelled by drugs and alcohol, a man slashed a friend’s face leaving permanent scars, following an argument over a mobile phone.

At Jedburgh Sheriff Court on Friday, 24-year-old Paul Smith was jailed for two years for the attack.

Smith of Channel Street, Galashiels, admitted assaulting a man to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement at a house in Myrselaw Green, Hawick, on December 11 last year.

The court heard how Smith had been back and forward to the flat several times, and failed to return the victim’s mobile phone after borrowing it. When the man confronted him, he threw it out of a window.

Smith returned to the victim’s home around 6am and, after an argument, was asked to leave.

As he made for the door, followed by the victim, he turned round and began punching him, before slashing him on the face with a knife he had attached to a keyring.

Procurator fiscal Morag McLintock said the offence happened in the hallyway near the front door of the two-bedroom flat.

She said the victim had been there with others.

“The accused and the complainer have known each other for about two years,” she explained.

Smith appeared at the flat, where everyone was getting ready to go to a party, at about 6.30pm on December 10.

He spoke to the victim before leaving.

“It was noted that the accused appeared to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” added Ms McLintock.

“There was some twoing and froing throughout the evening, and the accused returned to the address in an inebriated state at about 9.30pm,” continued the fiscal.

“There was a discussion about him borrowing the complainer’s phone and he went away to use it.”

Smith left with the phone and the man tracked him down around midnight in another flat.

“There was a discussion of a confrontational nature and the accused threw the phone out of the window,” continued Ms McLintock.

The man left the flat and went home to bed, leaving the door open for his partner.

At 6am on December 11, he heard shouting in the livingroom and found Smith there.

There was an argument between them, and Smith was asked to leave.

“He was seen to have a small Stanley knife concealed in his hand, and began to walk from the living room, followed by the complainer.

“Suddenly, he turned round and punched him, and there was a fight,” continued Ms McLintock.

As Smith punched the man he shouted, “I’ve just chibbed you” and a third person intervened and broke up the fight.

The victim was bleeding, and police and an ambulance were called.

He was taken to Borders General Hospital with “two substantial slashes to his face.

“Both were about 6cms long,” said Ms McLintock, “with one deep cut, which had cut through the skin and fat, while the second had gone through the top layer of skin.

“Both were treated with glue and stitches.”

Smith told police officers he had been drinking and had taken Valium.

He made no reply to caution and charge.

“Like most of these violent, drunken, incidents, this was all over nothing,” explained defence solicitor Malcolm Bruce.

He said Smith couldn’t find his girlfriend, a friend of the complainer’s girlfriend, and was under the influence of “drink and substances” when he committed the offence.

“There was a heated argument over a mobile phone,” he said, before the accused returned to the victim’s home.

“He had a keyring with a craft knife attached to it and, while under the influence, he reacted inappropriately during this fight,” continued Mr Bruce.

He said the attack was “out of character” for Smith, who had no previous offences for violence.

Sheriff Donald Corke told Smith, who had never previously served a custodial sentence, he would be failing in his duty if he did not send him to jail.

“You have been charged with fighting with this person to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement, which is a very serious matter,” he told Smith.

“What disturbs me is that you went to find this man and you had a blade and punched and slashed him. The cuts were to his face, which is particularly dangerous, and the scars will remain,” he added.