THE victim of a brutal and life-threatening knife attack in Greenock has been jailed for failing to attend court to give evidence against his alleged assailant.

Ryan Bain claimed that he was terrified to testify after receiving a series of threats from pals of the accused.

Sheriff Thomas Ward dismissed his excuses and declared that a 'stand' had to be taken against those who flout court citations and refuse to assist in prosecutions.

Bain's failure to turn up for the jury trial in August led to prosecutors deciding to drop the case entirely — meaning the alleged perpetrator will never face justice.

His lawyer Aidan Gallagher said: "He appreciates that his responsibility is first and foremost to the court, and that he should have reported the matters to police and the Crown in order to seek protection.

"But, faced with what he was faced with at the time, he took the decision he did out of real fear as to what would be brought upon him."

Bain, 19, was seriously assaulted to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life at an address on Weir Street on March 10.

Prosecutors said the formerly alleged teenage attacker repeatedly punched him on the head and body, threw a glass bottle at him and repeatedly struck him on the head and body with a knife — then pursued him whilst brandishing the blade.

Solicitor Mr Gallagher said: "It would be unfortunate if the perpetrator of an alleged serious assault finds himself at liberty while the victim finds himself in custody."

He told Greenock Sheriff Court: "Mr Bain was not only the victim of a serious assault, but he received a number of threats in relation to his attendance as a witness in these matters, via text and social media messages.

"He had been chased by individuals who had attempted to put those threats into practice.

"Mr Bain viewed all of this as very real indeed."

Fiscal depute David Glancy said that there were 'difficulties' with another witness but if Bain had attended the Crown would have had 'more options' regarding the case.

Mr Glancy said: "The case was treated as not called.

"Off the back of that there was a discussion and the view was taken that there would be no further proceedings."

Sheriff Ward noted that Bain has previous convictions for sending threatening messages, possession of a knife and an assault, all of which had resulted in periods of detention.

The sheriff told Bain: "Well, at least partly as a result of your failure to appear, the case against the accused was not called, and in effect nothing further will happen.

"The fact is that the accused was a prisoner at the time, so you could not have been in fear of him in spite of what you say others did.

"Someone who is alleged to have seriously assaulted you to the danger of your life has not faced trial.

"This is unacceptable."

Sheriff Ward added: "It seems to me that a stand should be taken.

"In the circumstances I consider that there is no other appropriate way of dealing with you other than by a period of detention."

Bain, whose address was not given in court, was sentenced to six months.