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Fine for skipper who stabbed his chief mate at Scrabster

By Gordon Calder

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A SPANISH skipper who stabbed his chief mate while their fishing boat was berthed at Scrabster was fined £250 when he appeared for sentence at Wick Sheriff Court today.

Adolfo Pego-Brion (46) was found guilty by a jury of stabbing Marcial Antonio Torres in the wheelhouse of the Brisca around midnight on August 20 last year after they had been out drinking.

The trial, which took place last month, heard trouble flared between the two when they returned to the vessel. During the incident a knife was involved and Mr Torres ended up with injuries on his body and spent three days in Caithness General Hospital in Wick.

He has been off work since.

However, the defence claimed that Mr Torres was drunk and abusive to his skipper and that he had lain in wait for him in the wheelhouse. Pego-Brion was also injured during the fight.

He denied the charge and claimed he acted in self-defence.

The jury of 10 women and five men by majority found the accused guilty but deleted the word "repeatedly" from the indictment.

When Pego-Brion returned to court today, Sheriff Andrew Berry indicated he would fine him.

He said: "It is very obvious that Mr Pego-Brion in no way was the instigator of what took place and it is clear from the jury's verdict that he was responsible, as a matter of criminal law, for one blow only."

Sheriff Berry also took into consideration the accused's previous good character and his family commitments.

"He turned up at court attentively when required and I am confident that it is unlikely he will appear in court again," the sheriff added.

Pego-Brion's solicitor, Fiona MacDonald, said her client would pay the money before leaving the building.

Juan Pablo Forti Buratti, a biologist who worked on another Spanish fishing boat, Genesis, told the trial he had been drinking with the Brisca skipper and chief mate at a bar in Scrabster. He told the court that after about 30 minutes "rude words" were spoken and Mr Torres began to threaten his skipper.

He described Mr Torres as "more than drunk" and aggressive.

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