A Lanark man well known and respected for his charity fundraising over the years pled guilty to an assault on an old friend when he appeared in the dock at Lanark Sheriff Court last Wednesday.
Parmel Mulvaney - better known by his middle name as Leith Mulvaney - is almost 70, and had no previous convictions.
The case was due to go to trial on Wednesday, but instead he admitted assaulting William MacDonald by punching him twice on the head, injuring him, and a plea of not guilty was accepted to a charge of attempting to resist arrest, involving four police officers at his home in Kildare Drive in the incident on February 23 this year.
Depute fiscal Ziad Hassan told the court that that night Mulvaney and his wife, and Mr MacDonald and his partner, had been at a show in a local hall, then returned to Mulvaney’s home to relax and chat.
They had been there for 10 minutes when a discussion arose about taxi drivers, and there was a degree of friction between Mulvaney and his friend’s partner.
“For no apparent reason, the accused walked towards the complainer and punched him twice on the left side of the face,” explained Mr Hassan.
Sheriff Ross Macfarlane wanted to know what sort of fight could arise out of such a discussion, and Mr Hassan told him that Mulvaney had been employed as a taxi driver at the time.
Mulvaney’s solicitor Archie Hill later said that the argument had begun over a report in the press about another taxi driver.
The sheriff still did not see how that could lead to an assault, and Mr Hill added: “Through the fog of alcohol he cannot put any legitimate reason to it.
“This has arisen out of absolutely nothing.”
After the assault Mr MacDonald was left with a small cut to his left cheek, and bruising on his chin.
Putting forward mitigation for Mulvaney, Mr Hill commented: “He has been friends with this man - and will still be friends following this court appearance - for over 30 years.”
There had been no other incident during the last 30 years, and hopefully would be nothing over the next 30 years “yes, 30 years!” he added.
Sheriff Macfarlane took the unusual step of admonishing Mulvaney.
Years ago a heart condition left Mulvaney, a former local government officer, with hardly enough energy to take a slow stroll, but a double heart bypass operation in 2008 saved his life and restored his health.
In thanks for that he began raising funds for the British Heart Foundation, with loads of community support.
Initially he planned the equivalent of a half marathon, a solo walk of 14 laps of Lanark Loch, sponsored for the heart charity.
However, friends, relatives and even strangers joined in and it became an annual event. With a tombola on the lochside, it was latterly raising over £1,000.
He later regarded that as his “summer fundraiser” and introduced a winter fundraiser for the same cause, Leith’s Curryoake Night, held in February in the Wee Man’s Castle Bar, in Lanark and this too was well supported.
His victim, Mr MacDonald, is also a well-known figure in Lanark, being a former publican and having run The Wallace Cave public house in the Bloomgate for several years.