THE victim left scarred by an Olympic boxing hopeful has told of his “absolute disgust” that his attacker was allowed to walk free.
Martin Waller, 38, needed more than 50 stitches in his face after he was floored by a punch from Amateur Boxing Association finalist Declan Fusco two days before last Christmas in The Village Inn, Easington Village.
Fusco, 22, of Rydal Crescent, Peterlee, was sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, a 12-month supervision order and 100 hours’ community work.
Durham Crown Court heard how Fusco, who admitted grievous bodily harm and common assault, was remorseful and had already spent five weeks in prison on remand.
The court was told that more jail time would prevent him attending an important boxing camp which could see him on the way to a place in the 2016 Olympics and taking up a job offer in Portsmouth.
But speaking after the case, dad-of-four Mr Waller, from Easington Village, said: “I’m absolutely disgusted with the sentence. It’s like a big two fingers up to the whole justice system.
“I feel completely let down, and I can’t comprehend how the boxing association, the courts or anybody else hasn’t even considered taking this person’s boxing licence away until he can prove he is a professional.”
Last week, Peterlee magistrates gave Fusco a conditional discharge for common assault against a woman.
Mr Waller, married to former East Durham College lecturer Helen, 31, added: “It’s an absolute disgrace, given what he has done, for him just to be released like that.”
Mr Waller, who was a professional golfer in Africa after leaving school, said he knows what it’s like to be a professional sportsman at a young age.
He added: “He wants to be out because of the Olympics, but it makes a mockery of the whole justice system. He has clearly used his alleged ability to sway a decision to get out of jail, and the judge has listened to that.”
The Recorder, Ms Amanda Rippon, told Fusco that being a trained boxer “turns your fists into a weapon”.
Mr Waller said: “Surely this makes him a risk to the public? But in the same breath, they allowed him to come out into the public. It’s an absolute disgrace. But I’m not going to allow it to get to me – otherwise he has won.”