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Bradford on Avon man spared jail for assault at Trowbridge nightclub
9:50am Monday 12th August 2013 in Trowbridge
A binge drinker who launched an unprovoked attack on a man, landing him in hospital for Christmas with a fractured jaw, has walked free from court.
Matthew Rogers set about his victim during a night out at Moo Moos in Trowbridge during the festive season last year.
But after hearing the 22-year-old is a few weeks away from completing a three-and-a-half year course to qualify as an electrician a judge suspended the jail term.
Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court Rogers and victim Daniel Hardwick were both in the town centre club on Saturday December 22.
She said there appeared to be a 'friendly conversation' between the pair during which Mr Hardwick reached forward and embraced the defendant.
Straight afterwards she said CCTV footage showed the victim standing with his hands behind his back when Roger punched him to the face.
"He starts to fall backwards and he is punched again, so two blows," she told the hearing on Friday.
She said Mr Hardwick went home that night in pain but woke the following morning unable to open his mouth.
When he saw the level of swelling he went to Trowbridge Hospital where they immediately referred him to the Royal United Hospital in Bath.
He then spent three days in hospital with the break to the right side of his jaw which led to a wisdom tooth having to be extracted.
The defendant was recognised by door staff looking at footage of the incident and then picked out in an identity parade.
After denying to police that he assaulted anyone and that it was him in the CCTV he refused to answer questions.
As a result of the attack Miss Hingston said the victim had time off work and his Christmas ruined as he was unable to eat for some time.
Rogers, of Downs View, Bradford on Avon, pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm.
Marcus Davey, defending, said "This is a young man who is genuinely sorry, he talks of being devastated."
He said he had completed all of the coursework and passed three exams and has one left to sit later this month.
Were he to be jailed he said the past three-and-a-half years and £1,000 he invested in the course would be wasted.
Passing sentence Judge Douglas Field said: "On the night in question you had been binge drinking, you were drunk.
"That is the cause for delivering these two punches to your victim and the cause of your not remembering much about what happened.
"Now in the cold light of day you are very remorseful, can't understand why it all happened, and you are very sorry about it.
"And you recognise, and that is brought out in your previous convictions, that you have a drink problem. This case merits custody.
"You are within an ace of qualifying as an electrician. It takes a lot of time and hard graft to become an electrician.
"Once someone is so qualified there is a good career in front of them. I have decided just to allow you to complete the qualification."
He imposed and eight month jail term suspended for a year with 140 hours of unpaid work, 12 months' supervision, £500 compensation and £100 victim surcharge.