Road rage thug punched driver, threatened woman
A driver who was involved in two road-rage incidents within a fortnight has avoided a jail sentence.
In one case, Gareth Johnstone punched a man who was driving through Inverkeithing with his family in the car.
The gardener with Edinburgh City Council also threatened to hit a female claiming she had “cut him up”.
Gareth Johnstone, 29, of Calder Grove, Edinburgh, appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.
He admitted that on 2nd September last year at the Kingsgate Centre car park, Dunfermline, he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting and swearing at a woman, making threats of violence towards her.
He also admitted that on 15th September at Church Street, Inverkeithing, he assaulted a man by punching him on the head.
He also admitted throwing a glass bottle at a stationary vehicle with passengers, striking it to the danger of the passengers.
Depute fiscal Carrie Stevens told the court that in the first incident a woman was driving her car at lunch-time in Dunfermline when she noticed the accused’s car behind her.
She drove into a car park and Johnstone followed her in. As she parked he came over to her car and said, “Aw you’re a bird, I thought you were a dude. You’re lucky you’re a bird because I was going to batter you. You shouldn’t cut people up.”
When woman denied having done this, Johnstone replied, “Aye you f****** did.”
He went back to his car and but shouted to the woman, “Do you want me to get out and slap you.”
He then drove off still shouting at her, “What the f*** are you doing? F*** off.”
Less than a fortnight later a man was driving through Rosyth at 8.20pm with his wife and six-year-old son in the car.
“He became aware of a car very close behind him, so close that he could not see the car’s registration plate,” said the depute.
When the car behind, driven by Johnstone, continued to follow at a close proximity, the driver pulled over to allow him to pass.
Instead of passing, Johnstone stopped as well and got out of his vehicle. He walked over to the driver’s window and shouted, “Come on then. Get out of the car. I’ll punch your f****** head in.”
Johnstone then punched the man through the open window. He then threw a bottle at the man’s car.
Defence solicitor Roshni Joshi said it was clear her client had “anger and anxiety issues”.
She pointed out that the driver in the second incident had responded by punching her client.
Sheriff Charles MacNair said, “That’s the problem with violence. It spreads.”
The court heard Johnstone had just completed a community payback order imposed at the same court when he committed these offences.
Sheriff MacNair told Johnstone, “These were two outrageous incidents of road rage committed within a fortnight. It’s notable that in the report you blame it on the other people’s driving.
“You’re very, very close to a lengthy period of custody.”
He imposed a community payback order with 225 hours of unpaid work and a restriction of liberty order for 11 months.
In April last year Johnstone appeared in the same court following another road rage incident in which he punched a driver twice in Dunfermline town centre.