A FRIEND was ordered to pay £2,500 in compensation to a 17-year-old girl he scalded with boiling water in a party prank.
Heather Dooley sustained agonising burns in the incident at a house party in Nairn last month.
And a sheriff told 22 year-old Colin McInnes today that he was lucky to escape a prison sentence.
Sheriff Ian Abercrombie said he was not sending him to jail because he believed he was genuinely contrite and had no previous record for any offence of a similar nature.
Instead the sheriff ordered McInnes to pay his young victim, who was a friend, £2,500 compensation and to carry out 160 hours of community service.
Inverness Sheriff Court heard McInnes told police that it was a stupid prank that went wrong.
After sentencing on Thursday, Heather's father Mike Dooley (48) said McInnes was a friend of his daughter. "Of all the lads there at that party the last person I would have expected to do anything like this was Colin.
"He’s let himself down, his family down and my own family."
Asked if he would could ever forgive McInnes, Mr Dooley said: "That depends what he has to say for himself.
"I’m just relieved it’s over but the healing process begins now for Heather. She’s receiving counselling and it’s the impact on her that concerns me most. I don’t know if she’ll forgive him."
He also praised Sheriff Abercrombie for his handling of the case: "I think the judge summed it up pretty well. It was pretty fair."
22 year-old painter decorator McInnes, of Riverbank Terrace, Nairn, had previously admitted on July 14 culpably and recklessly causing boiling water to pour from a kettle onto Miss Dooley causing her injury at a flat in Nairn.
Sentence had been deferred until Thursday for community justice social work reports.
Depute Fiscal Laura Ryan told the court Miss Dooley had been at a party with friends and she went into a bedroom to have a sleep about 7pm because she was tired.
A discussion then took place among the group about how they could wake her.
"McInnes has then taken a kettle. It appears he has then shaken the kettle of boiling water over her. The group then retired to the living room."
The fiscal said Ms Dooley was crying and showed one of the people at the part the injuries on her buttocks. She asked someone to call for medical assistance but no-one did.
"At 10.30pm she walked home and showed her injuries to her sister. The police and ambulance attended and Ms Dooley was taken to Raigmore Hospital."
The fiscal said the police asked everyone who was at the party to attend Nairn police station and McInnes told officers: "I regret it. It was a stupid prank. I wish it had never happened. I was trying to be the big man and behaved like a f..... idiot"
The fiscal said injuries covered 4 per cent of Ms Dooley’s body. "It is expected the injuries should heal up. There may be scarring, we just don't know, but the redness will remain for up to a year."
Diane McFarlane, solicitor for McInnes said he was ashamed of his behaviour.
"He deeply regrets the consequences of his actions for himself but more so for what he has done to the victim who is known to him.
"He understands the sheer disgust her family feels towards him."
She said McInnes wished he could turn back time and although he was under the influence of drink he was not offering that as an excuse.
"It was such a stupid thing to do, the consequences should have been obvious," said Ms McFarlane
"He is very young, immature and it strikes me he will not repeat this behaviour."
Sheriff Abercrombie told McInnes: "This is a terrible crime but you have accepted full responsibility. The injuries have shocked this court but I find you truly contrite and in these circumstances you have narrowly escaped going to jail."
The sheriff also warned McInnes that he should seriously consider in the future whether he should be drinking at all if that was the effect alcohol had on him.
As well as the community service and compensation order the Sheriff also placed McInnes on an offender supervision order for a period of one year. He was ordered to pay the compensation at £50 per week.