A MAN spent a month in intensive care suffering serious head injuries following a single punch assault outside a pub on Boxing Day.
But the man who threw the punch, Tyler John Wilmott, who was originally accused of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, was sentenced for the much lesser charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.
It resulted in Wilmott receiving an eight-month prison sentence, much lower than he would have expected had he been convicted of the more serious offence.
Durham Crown Court was told that due to the time he has spent in custody since handing himself in to police, four weeks after the incident, Wilmott was expected to be released from prison almost immediately, on licence.
The court heard the incident took place after both men arrived with two other friends by taxi at the Black Lion pub, in Sedgefield, County Durham, at 6.45pm on December 26.
Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said Wilmott took exception to a remark made by the other man and threw the punch which rendered him unconscious for almost five minutes.
Mr Newcombe said when the 22-year-old victim came round he appeared unsteady on his feet, staggering from side to side.
But he carried on drinking with his friends and was only admitted to hospital suffering serious head injuries after taking a turn for the worse later that night.
Mr Newcombe said the dilemma for the prosecution was the fact it could not be certain that the single punch and fall outside the pub, earlier in the evening, was the cause of the serious injury.
“It’s impossible to lay responsibility for those injuries at the defendant’s door.
“There were a number of intervening incidents between the assault and the victim ending up in hospital later.
“The injured man continued drinking, had two more falls and a ‘play scuffle’ with friends.
“Any of them may have affected his condition.
“So, following a review with the assistance of the officers in the case, it’s been decided we can only prove assault causing actual bodily harm,” added Mr Newcombe.
The charge was, therefore, put to 26-year-old Wilmott, of Chaytor Terrace, Fishburn, County Durham, and he pleaded guilty.
Glenn Gatland, mitigating, told the court: “The basis of plea is that it was a single punch, with no kicking or anything of that nature.
“The complainant made a full recovery and was able to return to work.”
Judge Peter Kelson said he respected the decision made by the Crown and imposed the eight-month sentence.