A DRINK-FUELLED attack which left a man with a fractured jaw could result in a Christchurch carpenter going to prison, a judge warned.
Luke Anderson (21) was told by Judge Jonathan Fuller at Bournemouth Crown Court that his actions had “crossed the custody threshold” and only arguments from his defence lawyer Nicholas Robinson could stop him from going down.
Having pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent at an earlier hearing, Anderson, of Perth Road, went before the court to face sentence.
But his defence team requested an adjournment to set up a special hearing to determine the facts of the case, as there were differences of opinion over the chain of events before the attack.
Prosecutor William Saunders explained it was accepted there was an altercation between Anderson and the victim, Dion Fulker, on 30th May last year in Bournemouth.
The victim claimed he saw Anderson was getting angry so turned his back and walked away, but without provocation was punched in the face from behind.
But Mr Robinson said his client claimed Mr Fulker was facing him with his arms raised, so launched a “pre-emptive strike”. He said that version of events was supported by a prosecution witness.
Both prosecution and defence agreed it was an “important difference” so a day-long hearing was needed to determine the facts.
However, Judge Fuller differed, saying he was reluctant to commit a whole day of court time to resolve an issue unlikely to affect the major decision in the case – whether Anderson should go to prison.
“The reality is your client accepts there was no justification for what he did,” Judge Fuller told Mr Robinson.
“A provocation to strike in the eyes of an intoxicated young man who was angry and took umbrage because of a perceived slight is a typical motivation for someone so drunk and so young [at the time of the offence].”
Judge Fuller went on: “The custody threshold has been crossed in this case.
“The essential question is whether the sentence should be suspended or not and no indication will be given by me to tie the hands of the sentencing judge.”
He granted Anderson unconditional bail to return on 18th March to learn his fate.