Three men spared jail following 'disgraceful' attack which left victim with two fractured eye sockets

Three men responsible for an attack which saw an 'unfortunate' pub-goer left with two fractured eye sockets have been spared jail.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 3:53 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 5:11 pm
Philip Smith's injuries

The 'ugly' attack, which left 'completely blameless' victim Philip Smith with fractures to both his lower eye sockets, broke out at the Oddfellows Arms in Seaham in October last year.

Lewis Patterson, 23, of Stavordale Street West, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm after forcefully punching Mr Smith in the face which knocked him to the ground - and caused the serious injuries.

Oddfellows Arms in Seaham

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Jax Harrison, of Wordsworth Avenue, and Robert Slater, of Eastlea Crescent, both pleaded guilty to affray.

The attack was captured almost entirely on CCTV cameras in the pub, in Church Street.

The court heard, Harrison, 31, approached Mr Smith where he sat in the pub with his wife - with Slater walking close behind carrying Harrison's coat.

Prosecuting Shaun Dryden said: "They're both walking towards the victim, Phillip Smith and his wife, who are underneath the camera.

"At this stage Mr Smith and his wife both say Harrison approached them aggressively and then punched Mr Smith in the face which caused both to fall to the ground."

A scuffle broke out and Mr Slater could be seen throwing 'one or two' punches in the direction of Mr Smith, said Mr Dryden.

The men were then broke apart by others in the pub and the first phase of the incident began to cool.

On the CCTV footage, which was played in court, Lewis Patterson is then seen entering the area of the brawl.

The court heard, Patterson looks towards Mr Smith twice before pushing a member of staff in the chest out of the way.

He then delivered a forceful blow to Mr Smith's face which knocked the victim to the ground.

Harrison then walks across to room to 'prone' Mr Smith and grabs hold of him before pub-goers intervene again.

Mr Smith was taken to hospital with facial injuries, bruising to his torso, marks on his neck and bruising to his right hand.

A CT scan showed Mr Smith had received a fracture to the floor of both eye sockets which required surgery and he now has metal plates in both sockets to repair the fractures.

In a victim impact statement on April 23, Mr Smith said he now has to wear glasses all of the time and his mental health has deteriorated - to which he is still receiving support as an outpatient.

He is a father-of-five and has had to give up his work and is too anxious to leave the house alone.

Defending Patterson, Mr O'Brien said the 23-year-old is disgusted at his actions as he himself suffered a broken nose when he was the victim in a robbery.

"Patterson was a victim of a similar attack, coincidentally which happened in the same pub, where he was attacked by a group of males.

"He is a man who does not normally behave in that way. His behaviour is entirely out of character."

Mitigating for Harrison, Ms Jane Waugh said he approached Mr Smith mistakenly believing he was one of a group of lads that were calling him 'Irn-Bru man'.

Harrison, who suffers from PTSD narcolepsy, says his memory is that when he went over to Mr Smith he fell to the floor.

When he re-approached Mr Smith following the blow, from Patterson, Ms Waugh said Harrison, who was diagnosed with PTSD after returning from Bosnia where he served in the army, was trying to protect himself and make sure Mr Smith stayed down.

While Slater, who is a regional manager for the company he works for, is also of former good character with no previous convictions.

Mitigating, Mr Alexander Burns said: "He acted out of misplaced loyalty.

"He has shown genuine remorse and concern for the victim."

Sentencing the three men, Mr Recorder Ian Harris said: "I find Mr Smith completely blameless, he became your collective victim."

He said the punch made by Patterson was a "forceful blow delivered with venom" adding that the behavior of all the defendants was 'utterly disgraceful'.

Harrison was given a 15-month jail sentence suspended for two years, given a curfew between the hours of 10pm and 7am and ordered to pay compensation of £200.

Slater, who pleaded guilty to affray, was given an eight-month prison sentence also suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay compensation of £300.

While Patterson, who is guilty of GBH, was given a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered to pay £700 in compensation, subject to a curfew between 10pm and 7am and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

All the defendants were also given a five-year restraining order.