AN Alnwick man who ‘overreacted’ to pub banter has been jailed for attacking a DJ.
Mark Smith, 23, of Windsor Gardens, was given a three-month prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday after admitting assault causing actual bodily harm to Hayden Parker.
Michael Bunch, prosecuting, told the court that Smith and Mr Parker, who was DJ-ing at the Penny Black in Alnwick at the time of the incident, which occurred on September 2 last year, had been sharing banter during the night.
Mr Parker had been making comments about bunny ears that Smith was wearing and Smith was retorting on the music.
But when Mr Parker made reference to Smith’s father, who had died when the defendant was 14, Smith turned to violence.
“As a result of this, the defendant entered the DJ booth and punched Mr Parker to the face, which caused him to black out and fall to the ground,” Mr Bunch said.
Smith then had to be restrained by others as he continued to assault his victim, who sustained a fractured right eye socket and was still receiving hospital treatment three months after the attack.
He has also been left with a twitch to his right eye and his nose which he believes is a result of the punch to his face.
Mr Bunch added that after the attack, someone purporting to be Smith sent Mr Parker a message on Facebook apologising for the attack saying he had ‘overreacted to what had been said’.
At the time of the offence, Smith was subject to a 12-week prison sentence suspended for two years, and was banned from entering any licensed premises in Alnwick or within 15 miles of the town as a result of a previous conviction for assault.
Joe Hedworth, defending, said that Smith, who works for Alnmaritec, was ‘terrified’ of going to prison.
He said: “Mr Smith is very ashamed about his behaviour and is genuinely remorseful.
“He wanted me to publicly apologise to Mr Parker for the pain and discomfort he has suffered as a result of his actions.”
But he added that Smith did not agree that Mr Parker had suffered a fractured eye socket or that he was knocked unconscious and said that the injuries were swelling and numbness.
Sentencing Smith, judge Richard Lowden said: “This is not the first time that this, or something like it, has happened.
“This is your third conviction for violence.
“In the first conviction for battery, you were fined for attacking somebody while in drink at Alnwick Squash Club in October 2007.
“Then, more seriously, you were given a suspended sentence for an offence of assault causing actual bodily harm on June 23 last year.
“It was a requirement of that suspended sentence that you didn’t go to licensed premises in Alnwick for three months.
“Not only did you breach the suspended sentence, you further breached it by being in that pub in Alnwick in the first place.
“I am afraid that if I don’t send you to prison that suspended sentence will have no meaning whatsoever and I have no justification for not imposing it.”
Smith will serve six weeks of the original suspended sentence and three months consecutively for the assault causing actual bodily harm to Mr Parker.