Glasgow & West Scotland

Marc Carr's Samurai sword attack conviction overturned

A man who was jailed 30 months for attacking a friend with a Samurai sword has had his conviction overturned.

Marc Carr pleaded not guilty to assaulting Lee Tobin at a Glasgow tower block on 28 March 2012, and lodged a special defence of self defence.

He was convicted after a sheriff ruled the defence did not apply as he was armed and expecting trouble.

Appeal judges ruled that a "miscarriage of justice" had occurred as the sheriff was wrong to do this.

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh heard how Mr Carr lived on the eight floor of the tower block in Dobbies Loan Place, near Cowcaddens, and Mr Tobin lived on the 11th floor.

Differing accounts

During the original trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court, both men gave differing accounts of what had happened.

Mr Tobin claimed that the day before the incident, Mr Carr called at his flat and asked him to look after 4,000 valium tablets for him.

He said Mr Carr left in a bad temper and telephoned him the following day asking for a fight.

Mr Tobin said he invited Mr Carr to come to his flat, hoping he would have calmed down.

He claimed that Mr Carr attacked him with a Samurai sword when he opened the door.

The accused disputed this version of events and claimed that Mr Tobin bore him a grudge after being arrested following an incident on 15 March 2012.

Mr Carr claimed he later received telephone calls from Mr Tobin who was "ranting and raving and making threats".

Mr Carr said he telephoned Mr Tobin who suggested they meet in a public place.

When he never turned up, Mr Carr said he decided to confront Mr Tobin at his flat because if he stayed in his own flat he "was just putting off the inevitable of being assaulted".

He said he took the Samurai sword with him to frighten Mr Tobin and claimed he did not intend to use it.

Mr Carr claimed he only struck Mr Tobin after he came towards him with a baseball bat.

'Anticipated trouble'

He pleaded not guilty to assaulting Mr Tobin and lodged a special defence of self defence.

However, the sheriff told the jury: "I have ruled that the self-defence is not available to Marc Carr in this case.

"That is because... on his own evidence, he explained to you he knew about the threats which were made against him.

"He said he anticipated trouble. He decided to go to Lee Tobin's flat and most significantly, he decided to take with him a Samurai sword."

Mr Carr subsequent appeal was heard by Lady Smith, sitting with Lady Dorrian and Lord Philip.

In the written judgement, Lady Smith said: "The circumstances of the present case, where the appellant's evidence was not that he was prepared to use the weapon but that he did not intend to harm the complainer, was certainly no weaker than that.

"In all these circumstances, we are satisfied that it was not open to the trial judge to withdraw this special defence from the jury and that a miscarriage of justice has occurred. We will, accordingly, uphold this appeal."

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