Court hears of 'mass outbreak of fighting' in Galashiels
A 23-YEAR-OLD man accused of being at the centre of a "mass outbreak of fighting" involving 30 men in Galashiels walked free from court this week.
Garry Kerr was caught standing in the middle of the road as two gangs clashed during an early morning disturbance in the town's Market Street on October 9.
He was seen shouting and gesticulating at one group, reportedly from Tranent. And, when police asked him to move, he responded: "F*** off!"
The college student had to be restrained on the ground by police before being arrested.
Recalling the drama at the Justice of the Peace Court of the Scottish Borders in Selkirk on Thursday, Procurator fiscal depute Iain Batho said: "Police were called to an incident involving two large groups of males around 2am. There was a mass outbreak of fighting involving 30 individuals.
"During this time police observed the accused standing in the roadway shouting and pointing at the opposing group. He was requested to move to which he responded: 'F*** off!'"
Kerr, who lives with his mum at King Street, Galashiels, admitted a charge of breach of the peace. He was also charged with struggling with police officers, striking out with his hands and feet, and resisting arrest. However, he pled not guilty to that charge and that plea was accepted by the court.
Kerr's solicitor Matt Patrick blamed drink for his client's behaviour. However, he pointed out he had enrolled in a college course on railway engineering and, with a guaranteed job at the end of it he said, was on track to turn his life around. And he pleaded with the court to give him a chance to prove he could behave.
Mr Patrick said: "Part of the reason he (Kerr) was so animated was because he himself had been the victim of an assault prior to the police arriving on the scene and he felt they should have been dealing with that instead of focussing on him."
Justice of the Peace Andrew Bramhall deferred sentence on Kerr for six months to give him a chance to prove he can behave. However, he warned him he would have to stay out of trouble. Passing sentence JP Bramhall said: "It's a pity you didn't co-operate with police and just walk away."
This article appeared in Border Telegraph 24 Jan 12
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