Norwich judge issues dire warning over single punch attacks

Judge Peter Jacobs with men on the Payback scheme at Centenary House in Norwich.
Photo: Bill Smith Judge Peter Jacobs with men on the Payback scheme at Centenary House in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Peter Walsh
Saturday, March 22, 2014
9:46 AM

A judge has questioned why people “cannot get the message” that a single punch in a drunken fight can have the most dire of circumstances.

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Judge Peter Jacobs made the warning at Norwich Crown Court yesterday before sentencing Benjamin Moon, 22, who punched an 18-year-old man in the head from behind, knocking him down a flight of stairs in an attack at Mercy nightclub on Prince of Wales Road.

The victim suffered two fractures to his jaw and had to be fed through a straw for four weeks following the attack on December 15 last year.

Moon, of Eastern Road, Norwich, was given a 12-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Sentencing Moon, Judge Jacobs said it was an all too familiar example of “mindless violence” in the Prince of Wales Road area of Norwich - and the soprt of attack in which people have been known to die from.

He said: “You struck him with one blow and if only people would understand the consequences of one blow attacks. There was a time when I was doing two or three manslaughter cases a year in which one single blow led to a man’s death - and people still cannot get the message that people fall, strike their head, fracture some vital part of the body and die.

“In this case he didn’t die, although he fell down stairs and ended up with a double fracture of his jaw.”

Judge Jacobs, who also sentenced Moon to 160 hours of unpaid work and ordered him to pay £3,500 in compensation to the victim as well as prosecution costs, added: “You’ve got your chance - some wouldn’t have given you this. Make sure we don’t see you here again.”

In 2011, Alan Jewitt, 43, from Gertrude Road, north Norwich, died after a one-punch attack near Chicago’s nightclub on Prince of Wales Road. His attacker was cleared of manslaughter when a jury decided he had been acting in self-defence.

In the latest case, Chris Youell, prosecuting, said the victim had been out with friends in the city and ended up in Mercy.

He said there came a point when he went outside for a cigarette and found himself in an altercation with a group of older men, including the defendant, who thought he looked younger than he was.

The victim told them to “get lost” went back in and later carried on arguing with the defendant who punched him, sending him down a flight if stairs.

Mr Youell said the defendant was behind the victim who did not see the punch coming.

Although they initially shook hands after the incident the victim was later taken to A&E when it was discovered he had suffered a fractured jaw which required an operation and meant he could only be fed through a straw for about four weeks.

The jaw required further treatment some weeks later when it had to be refixed.

Steven Dyble, for Moon, said he was a qualified electrician with no previous convictions who had never even been arrested.

He said it was “very much out of character” adding the defendant had “learnt a very painful lesson”.

Moon, said Mr Dyble was “genuinely remorseful” as shown by his plea and also the fact he had already put aside £1800 to pay his victim by way of compensation.

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