A TEENAGER who assaulted four men at a Dumbarton railway station was almost jailed because of a social worker’s typo in a letter she sent to the court.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, previously pleaded guilty, along with two other teens aged 16 and 17, to assaulting four men at Dumbarton East, alongside two co-accused’s, aged 16 and 17-years-old from Clydebank.

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

However, when they appeared in the dock for sentencing at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Wednesday, August 30, one of them was almost imprisoned for appearing to fail to comply with a court order to obtain background reports.

His defence solicitor told the court he had missed an appointment with social workers because he was 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 William 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].

“He appreciates he indicated he could not attend due to his appearance at the court but not on any other date.”

Sheriff Gallacher said the youth would be remanded in custody 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 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 as punishment for flouting the court order.

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

The sheriff then moved on to the youngest accused, whose social work report was also not complete.

His defence solicitor, Phil Lafferty, told the court: “Unfortunately, he lost the letter.

“He made another appointment, I’m told by him, which was yesterday.”

Sheriff Gallacher retorted: “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.

All three boys were released on bail and sentence was deferred to September 20 to obtain the reports.