A MAN who savagely beat a Japanese tourist was yesterday sentenced to six years and three months' detention.

His 15-year-old co-accused was sentenced to three years in custody after the High Court in Edinburgh heard that he kicked the victim once in the assault.

The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Cullen, told Scott Lonie, 20, that it had been a ''vicious and brutal attack on a defenceless stranger''.

Mr Kazuhiro Haba, 25, a hotel barman in Osaka, had been touring distilleries as part of a business trip, combining work with pleasure.

He followed a recommendation in a guide book to view Edinburgh's night sky from Calton Hill. But as he was leaving the tourist spot at about 2.15am he was jumped on from behind.

At an earlier court hearing, prosecutor Gillian More had said that doctors, who feared for Mr Haba's life, described a 15cm wound he received as a ''partial scalping''.

Lonie, of Jean Armour Avenue, Edinburgh, pled guilty to assaulting Mr Haba to the danger of his life by knocking him to the ground, repeatedly kicking his head, and robbing him of money and credit cards on July 12.

His co-accused pled guilty to kicking the victim's head to his severe injury and robbing him of a watch.

Defence counsel Ian Duguid said yesterday that Lonie had gone to Calton Hill because it was known as a meeting place for homosexuals whom he saw as easy targets to mug.

He added that background reports described Lonie as an ''immature, gullible, and foolish'' man who befriended younger boys because he had been ''rejected by his own age group''. He lacked self-control and was likely to re-offend.

Defence counsel David Jack blamed the co-acused's violence squarely on the bad influence of Lonie. A reference from his school described him as ''willing, polite, and diligent''.

The youth was now disgusted with himself and suffering nightmares and depression. Mr Jack said: ''His chances of re-offending are utterly nil.''

Lord Cullen accepted that the youth played a lesser role in the crime, telling him: ''You were under the influence of an older man and I take into account that since the awful event you have shown remorse and insight into what was done.''

But he was more severe with Lonie, saying: ''You went out of your way to attack a defenceless stranger for no other reason than financial gain. Having knocked him to the ground you took part in a vicious, brutal, and sustained attack by kicking him to such an extent that his life was in danger.''

Earlier the court had heard that Mr Haba, a barman with the Imperial Hotel in Osaka, had arrived in Edinburgh at about 8pm on July 11, after stops in the Western Isles. He visited the castle, walked around the city centre, and went to Calton Hill to take pictures of the night sky at about 2am.

The accused asked him for a cigarette and he handed one over and lit it.

Laden with a rucksack and camera equipment he headed back down the hill but, before he could reach the street, was suddenly struck on the back of the head and blacked out. A concerned passerby followed a zigzag trail of blood and found Mr Haba severely injured.

At Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, he was found to have a massive C-shaped wound across his skull and severe bruising to his neck.

He spent two weeks in hospital where he received plastic surgery before returning to Japan.

He was flown back to Scotland earlier this month to give evidence at a scheduled trial, but the long, expensive trip proved unnecessary when the accused changed their pleas to guilty.

The court heard that the pleas had been reconsidered after DNA evidence, which linked blood found on one of the accused's jeans to the assault, became available only a few days before the trial date.