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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Carlisle dad-of-two escapes jail for punching man on night out

A father has avoided jail – thanks mainly to his victim’s refusal to co-operate with the court.

Brian Light, 23, appeared before Carlisle Crown Court to be sentenced for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The father-of-two young children, of Bower Street, Raffles, Carlisle, had previously admitted punching and sitting on his victim, Steven Clark, in Botchergate last summer.

Despite his guilty plea, Judge Batty heard that there had been a dispute over its basis.

Prosecutor Becky McGregor said a hearing was scheduled for March 9 to discuss the facts but Mr Clark and a second witness were “extremely hostile” to the prosecution.

A third witness also failed to appear. Instead, the defendant and his counsel negotiated a separate basis of plea with the prosecution.

Ms McGregor said Light had consumed 10 to 15 pints while out with friends, and was standing outside a pizza shop in Botchergate when he was confronted by a group of men and punched in the face, breaking his nose. “He accepts he lashed out and punched at the group,” she added. “He then sat on Mr Clark. He accepts that he acted ‘excessively’ and should not have punched back.”

Light has a history of drunken violence dating from 2008 to 2010, but Kim Whittlestone, defending, said he has since tried to remain out of trouble.

She continued: “My client has had a difficult upbringing. He was in care until the age of 16, then having left care he was in and out of a hostel before eventually returning to live with his mother who has issues with alcohol.“He is now part of a stable relationship with two young children and is supported by his partner in court.”

Ms McGregor attempted to read a victim impact statement to the judge, but he stopped her, saying: “He can hardly expect the court to take into account the impact of this matter if he doesn’t co-operate with the authorities.”

Sentencing Light to nine months in prison, suspended for 12 months, Judge Batty said: “You are 23 years of age and for a young man you are starting to amass a considerable record for drink-related offences involving violence.

“Had I considered that this was a completely unprovoked incident I would have had no hesitation in depriving you of your liberty.

“However, the victim did not co-operate with the prosecution and in these circumstances I sentence you on the basis of your plea and give you due credit for that.”

Light was also made the subject of a supervision order for 12 months, which includes attending Cumbria alcohol awareness intervention, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

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