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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 13:07 GMT
'Wicked' stun gun attacker jailed
Steven Burns
The judge said Burns launched an 'unprovoked and vicious' attack
A man has been jailed for five and a half years for attacking a stranger with a stun gun in Edinburgh.

Steven Burns fired the banned weapon at his victim after pretending to ask for directions on East London Street.

A judge told Burns he had committed "a wicked, unprovoked and vicious attack on an innocent member of the public".

Burns denied the attack but was earlier convicted of assaulting Craig Samuel to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement on 10 June last year.

Your criminal record is appalling and conveys to my eyes a man who has absolutely no respect for the law
Judge Lord Clarke

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Clarke told Burns: "The fact you initiated this attack by the use of a stun gun made it all the more sinister. It was also cowardly."

The judge said the effect of the assault on the victim had been "very significant and lasting".

Lord Clarke said background reports indicated that Burns, 33, posed a high risk to the public.

He said: "Your criminal record is appalling and conveys to my eyes a man who has absolutely no respect for the law and simply refuses to learn his lawless conduct must stop."

Lord Clarke ordered that Burns should serve an extended sentence for a further two years where he will be kept under supervision.

Blurred vision

Burns discharged the stun gun, which can deliver 15,000 volts of electricity, at Mr Samuel in Edinburgh's New Town as he headed home from a night out.

Civil servant Mr Samuel, 37, was also kicked in the attack and suffered a fractured eye socket and blurred vision.

Burns was originally charged with the attempted murder of Mr Samuel, but the Crown reduced the charge during the course of his trial.

He was also found guilty of being in possession of a prohibited weapon - the stun gun.

The unemployed scaffolder, of North Berwick, in East Lothian, who has previous convictions including assault, robbery and possession of an offensive weapon, was out on bail at the time of the attack.

Defence solicitor advocate Richard Goddard said that although the stun gun was "an unusual device" it was not a lethal weapon.

The type found by police in the car was of a much lower strength than used by law enforcement authorities.

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