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Ross-shire man who bit off part of friend's ear spared jail at Inverness Sheriff Court

By Ali Morrison

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The Inverness Justice Centre. Picture: Gary Anthony.
The Inverness Justice Centre. Picture: Gary Anthony.

An Alness labourer who bit off a part of a friend’s ear was spared a jail sentence at Inverness Sheriff Court despite having two previous convictions for violence.

After hearing from solicitor Clare Russell and reading a background report, Sheriff Sara Matheson was persuaded not to jail Sandon Urquhart (23). Instead, she ordered he carry out 280 hours of unpaid community work, be supervised by social workers for two years and wear an electronic tag for the next six months, confining him to his now home in Aird Avenue, Inverness between 7pm and 7am.

She told Urquhart: “There is an opportunity to deal with matters by a community payback order. Prison would have been something like two years and the reason I am not sending you to prison is that your mother died when you were only three but you have made something of your life. You have a good work ethic.”

Ms Russell told the court that Urquhart “has become more settled in a new relationship and has moved in with his girlfriend. He has limited his alcohol consumption and stopped taking illicit substances. He also recognises the impact this has had on his former friend. Although he has two previous convictions for analogous offences in 2018, he has matured significantly since then."

“This was a square go which got out of hand,” Ms Russell added.

Previously, Inverness Sheriff Court heard that although the piece of flesh was re-attached, it failed to graft properly and had to be removed. Urquhart of Sellar Place, Conon Bridge admitted assaulting Ian Docherty to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement in a Firhill car park on June 9, 2020. Fiscal depute Martina Eastwood told Sheriff Sara Matheson that Urquhart had approached Mr Docherty as he sat in his car. “He acted aggressively and a struggle began and both were rolling on the ground. They got up and were leaning on a fence with their heads close together. Urquhart then bit the top of Mr Docherty’s ear lobe off ."

When arrested, Urquhart told police: “I was defending myself trying to get him off me.”

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