Man (20) avoids going to prison after pushing woman down stairs

The Magistrates Court Picture: ROB CURRIE.

A 20-YEAR-OLD man who pushed a woman down a flight of stairs has been spared prison.

Bradley Robert James Withe was sentenced to 200 hours of community service – but told that if he had been older he would now be starting a custodial sentence.

The Royal Court heard that Withe had also punched a stranger in the face in an unprovoked attack, only days after he first appeared in court for the assault on the woman.

He pleaded guilty to common assault for the attack on the stranger, and was separately found guilty of the same charge by a Royal Court jury in relation to the attack on the woman.

Crown Advocate Lauren Hallam, prosecuting, said Withe was 19 at the time of the assaults.

Describing the offences, she said that on 17 February last year the defendant pushed the woman down the stairs while trying to prevent her from leaving his house.

As she lay on the ground he placed one hand over her mouth and another on her neck, despite knowing that she had asthma.

She suffered bruises and now has trouble sleeping, the court heard.

At 2am on 30 July last year Withe punched a man in the face in Mulcaster Street as the victim queued for food, leaving him with swelling to the head.

Withe was assessed at moderate risk of reconviction. Advocate Hallam recommended 260 hours of community service as an alternative to prison.

Advocate James Bell, defending, agreed community service was sufficient punishment but argued for a shorter term.

He pointed out that 260 hours was the equivalent of 20 months in custody, yet the jury had decided that the offences were not serious enough to constitute grave and criminal assault.

The advocate also said that neither of the victims had suffered lasting physical damage.

Of the punch in Mulcaster Street, Advocate Bell said: ‘He accepts there was no excuse. He did plead guilty and he has offered an apology.

‘It was a single punch and it was spur of the moment.’

And he stressed: ‘He is a first offender and he is a young offender.’

Withe was sentenced to 180 hours of community service for assaulting the woman and a consecutive 20 hours for assaulting the man, and received a 12-month probation order.

He was also banned from having any contact with the woman for three years.

Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae told him: ‘You gave no assistance to the police in your interviews, you lied to the jury at your trial and you take no responsibility for what you did.

‘Were it not for your age you would now be starting a custodial sentence.’

The Jurats sitting were Karen Le Cornu and Michael Berry.