A CLYDEBANK teenager narrowly escaped jail time after missing an appointment he was ordered to attend by a court.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, previously pleaded guilty to assaulting four men alongside two co-accused, a 17-year-old also from Clydebank and a 17-year-old from Helensburgh.

The trio admitted knocking a man to the ground, punching another man in the head and repeatedly kicking and punching a further two men at Dumbarton East railway station on December 3, 2016.

However, when the teenagers appeared in the dock for sentencing at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Wednesday, August 30, his mistake almost landed him behind bars.

His defence solicitor Mr Lafferty told the court: “Unfortunately, he lost the letter. He made another appointment, I’m told by him, which was yesterday.”

Sheriff William Gallacher replied: “It appears almost inevitable people who don’t turn up for reports will end up in custody.”

However, Mr Lafferty pleaded it was a “forgivable situation” given the teen had tried to rectify his error.

Meanwhile, the teenager’s Helensburgh co-accused was also close to being imprisoned for appearing to fail to comply with the court order.

His defence solicitor told the court he had missed an appointment with social workers due to his presence being required at Glasgow Sheriff Court and insisted he had contacted the social work department to inform them of this – resulting in the report not being prepared.

However, Sheriff Gallacher interrupted: “You missed the bit in the middle [of the letter from the social worker]. He missed it due to his own doing.”

The teen’s solicitor responded: “He disputes the wording of the paragraph in the middle [which indicated he could not attend due to work commitments].” Sheriff Gallacher said the youth would be remanded until the situation could be resolved and stated his intention to keep the teen locked up if it was confirmed the problem was caused by him.

When the case was recalled later that morning, the Helensburgh teen’s solicitor explained the social worker confirmed the appointment was due to be rescheduled to accommodate for the teen’s court appearance.

However, a mistake in the letter indicated the delay was due to the teen’s work commitments when, in fact, it was the social worker’s own work commitments which meant the meeting had not yet taken place.

Sheriff Gallacher blasted the error as “unacceptable” and said he had planned to lock up the accused for “three or four weeks” for flouting the court order.

He told the court social worker the issue must be rectified and it must be made clear mistakes such as this cannot happen.

All three boys were bailed; sentence was deferred until September 20.