By Michael MacLeod
A MAN was hit over the head with a bat outside the front door of one of Scotland’s busiest courts.
Craig Moore, 25, attacked his girlfriend’s brother Michael Martin, 39, who was due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court over an ongoing family dispute.
Moore claimed Martin’s family were trying to stop him from seeing his newborn baby daughter.
After leaving Martin bloodied and bruised, Moore himself admitted the assault was “completely callous and premeditated.”
But he was criticised today (WED) for using the court as a venue for violence.
Sheriff Frank Crowe told him the attack “struck at our system of justice.”
Unemployed Moore says he will ask his now ex-girlfriend Andrea Martin, 30, to agree custody terms over their child – without resorting to violence.
The Dalkeith couple’s relationship ended shortly before the attack on the morning of 5 November last year.
Fiscal depute Aidan Higgins said: “Mr Martin attended at the Sheriff Court where he was due to face trial.
“In the course of the morning the complainer went outside to buy cigarettes.
“He was making his way back to the building here in Chambers Street while on his mobile phone when Moore ran from the other side of the road and struck him on the head several times with a baton.
“It caused Mr Martin to drop his phone and fall to the ground, while Moore took flight and discarded the baton on Chambers Street.”
With the attack captured on CCTV police easily tracked Moore down, while ambulance staff treated a cut on Martin’s right ear and bruising on his head.
Moore originally denied assault, but today pled guilty.
Defending him, Leanne McQuillan said: “He had been in a relationship with the complainer’s sister for a brief period and she became pregnant.
“They weren’t living together and split up during the pregnancy, which her brother and his family were unhappy about.
“Mr Moore hasn’t seen his daughter since she was two months old and believes the family are trying to stop him seeing her.
“He accepts his conduct was less than appropriate and damages his chances of seeing his daughter.”
Outside court, Moore added: “There’s no point me hiding from it so I pled guilty.
“What I did was completely callous and premeditated, but it’s an awkward situation because I live in the same row of houses as this family.
“I was under a lot of pressure and most of my family have never seen my daughter, so I’ll do what I can to speak to Andrea about getting a custody arrangement.”
Sheriff Frank Crowe told Moore: “I take a dim view of this because it does strike at our system of justice, which is to deal with these matters in a civilised way.
“We have security and police assistance in the court and it is important for me that we have a secure and safe environment.
“It does seem you used the court and the venue for Mr Martin’s case, knowing where he was and taking that opportunity to assault him.”
Moore was bailed and will be sentenced next month.