Street fighter avoids jail
A MAN who was ‘looking for a fight’ when he brawled with three men in St Helier – holding up traffic as they scuffled – and assaulted a woman was ‘extraordinarily fortunate’ to avoid a jail sentence.
Richard Murray (37) admitted breaching the peace by fighting and grave and criminal assault and was yesterday told by Royal Court Commissioner Sir Michael Birt that if he did not address his issues with violence and alcohol he would be sent to prison.
Murray was sentenced to 60 hours’ community service and 12 months’ probation.
Sir Michael said: ‘It is clear from your previous record, and the offences in front of us, that you have a problem with alcohol and violence. When you consume it you become aggressive.
‘If you carry on like this you will spend longer and longer periods in prison.’
Crown Advocate Chris Baglin, prosecuting, told the court that on 26 April, Murray had been drinking in the Halkett Pub and left at 11.30pm.
CCTV footage showed him getting into verbal altercations with members of the public, and a witness described him as being ‘antagonistic’ and trying to start a fight with anyone.
Murray then got into an argument in New Street with three men and the group started fighting. The incident led to Murray being charged with breach of the peace by fighting. The other men involved were fined in the Magistrate’s Court.
Murray’s grave and criminal assault related to an incident on 26 May at a property in St Helier and involved him assaulting a woman. An examination found injuries to the victim’s hair, chin, lips, neck, back, both arms, left shoulder area and left breast, mainly consisting of bruising.
In August of last year, the victim went to the States police to retract her complaint.
Calling for a 12-month probation order and 100 hours of community service, Crown Advocate Baglin said Murray had previous convictions for alcohol-related violence.
Advocate James Bell, defending, said his client had already served the equivalent of 12 months in custody and that that had been enough punishment.
He also argued that because of this there should not be any extra time or hours of community service required, and that his client should be made the subject of a probation order.
In relation to the New Street fight, he told the court witnesses had said his client was not the aggressor and that Murray had only struck back when a punch was thrown at the woman he was with.
He added that Murray was genuinely remorseful for the grave and criminal assault and for the distress it had caused.
Delivering the court’s sentence, Sir Michael added: ‘You have been extraordinarily fortunate. These offences almost always attract prison sentences. So take advantage of your opportunity.
‘Obey everything Probation say to the letter, because if you breach the order or community service there could be no alternative than immediate custody.’
Murray was also banned from licensed premises for six months.
Jurats Geoffrey Grime and Paul Nicolle were sitting.
'I'm sick to death of going completely around in a circle... we should be telling the public as soon as possible'
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