John Sebastian Nicolle (48), who has a record of 81 previous offences, appeared before the Royal Court yesterday after pleading guilty to committing a grave and criminal assault on 12 July last year.
He also pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of common assault, committed against a woman on the same evening, and a subsequent charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice – committed while he was being held on remand in custody.
The court heard that Nicolle had been drinking in a flat with four other people and that an argument broke out between the defendant and a woman. During the altercation, the woman was injured, sustaining a large bruise and swelling to her left eye and a bruised knee. One witness described Nicolle as ‘shouting abuse at her’ before he ‘battered her’. The police were then called.
Witnesses said that the male victim then entered the flat and, realising what was happening, ‘stuck up’ for the woman and stopped the assault. Witnesses say Nicolle then punched the man four to six times.
In video footage recorded on the mobile phone of someone in the flat, the male victim can be seen lying motionless on the ground while Nicolle stamps on his head. At the same time, the female victim can be heard appealing to the attacker to stop and to call an ambulance. States police officers arrived minutes later.
The man sustained a broken cheekbone, along with facial bruising. He discharged himself from hospital but returned hours later after suffering a seizure.
The court also heard that Nicolle phoned the woman he attacked 250 times from jail – after telling prison officers he was calling someone else – in a bid to get her to retract her evidence.
He also sent two letters to her containing instructions about what to tell the police, and a document compiled by his lawyer outlining the defence case he was to put forward in court.
Crown Advocate Richard Pedley said the prosecution was seeking a sentence of four years’ imprisonment.
Advocate Allana Binnie, defending, said Nicolle’s male victim had been antagonising her client and asked how many times Nicolle had stamped on his victim’s face, questioning the reliability of the witness evidence and the video footage supplied to the court.
She also said her client had only contacted the woman to chat to her and to fully understand what had happened on the night he was arrested.
Delivering the court’s sentence, Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae said: ‘Most men of your age have put their offending well behind them, even if they did have a difficult start in life, which we note that you did.
‘The common assault took place in her [the woman’s] apartment, which she is entitled to feel safe within amongst the company of others. You punched her in the face, causing it to swell. One of those in the flat was so concerned that he called the police straight away.’
He added: ‘...One of the people recorded part of the assault on a mobile phone. We have seen the footage of you stamping on [the victim] at the time when he was offering no resistance.
‘We reject the assertion that you were provoked in any way, but even if you were it would not mitigate what you did.’
Nicolle was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.
Jurats Charles Blampied, Jane Ronge and Pamela Pitman were sitting.