NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Second brother jailed after rugby player loses eye

Aparangi Hemara
Image caption The attack cost rugby player Aparangi Hemara his left eye

A second brother found guilty of an attack which led to a promising rugby player losing an eye has been jailed for six years.

Aaron Mackie, 19, assaulted New Zealander Aparangi Hemara, 27, in Union Street, Aberdeen, last year.

Mr Hemara, who has Scottish relations, had won two caps with the New Zealand Maoris and hoped to play for Scotland.

Mackie's brother Christon, 21, was also jailed for six years at an earlier hearing.

Aaron Mackie was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow. The pair had earlier been found guilty at the High Court in Livingston.

The men were convicted of repeatedly punching and kicking Mr Hemara to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and permanent impairment in October 2009.

Mr Hemara had been walking arm-in-arm with his fiancee Elizabeth Giles after celebrating the announcement of their engagement with friends in Aberdeen city centre.

Before the attack, Mr Hemara had not progressed to join New Zealand's national team, The All Blacks, which would have disqualified him from playing for another country.

He had hoped to continue playing high-level rugby and eventually bid for a place in the Scotland team, but the injury - which led to surgeons removing his eye - ruled that out.

Mr Hemara said after the convictions: "As you can imagine we have had an extremely tough year and are thankful this is all over so we can move on with our lives.

"No words can describe our ordeal but we are thankful for all of the support we have received.

"It must be said that without CCTV footage, the police and the help of the press we wouldn't have been able to bring anyone to justice for this."

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