'Walking away is not a weakness' Barrister of one-punch attacker in open lettter to the Eastern Daily Press
PUBLISHED: 13:52 22 June 2013 | UPDATED: 13:52 22 June 2013
It was a single punch that changed countless lives forever.
Amateur boxer Daniel Brzozowski, 21, landed a blow to the head of 28-year-old Michael Evans, who then hit his head on the pavement. Brzozowski had “felt threatened”, Norwich Crown Court heard on June 17, and he intended to “punch and run”.
He was drunk at the time.
The moment of violence in Great Yarmouth town centre left Mr Evans, of Stanley Road, with severe brain damage. With half a skull he is lucky to be alive, cannot use a knife or fork and cannot even write his name.
His parents fear he may never work again, and his family and friends have been devastated. Ross Burrows, the barrister who represented Brzozowski, of Albany Road, said his client’s life was also ruined by a single action.
He makes no excuses for Brzozowski –who was jailed for three years for his crime.
But he argues he is a “victim to his own naivety” who did not stop to think that his victim may not get up again after he landed the blow.
And Mr Burrows, of Pump Court chambers in London, said the case should be a wake-up call to young drinkers across the country.
He warns: “Walk away as the stakes are much higher than you think.”
He explains further in this open letter to the Eastern Daily Press.
THE LETTER ...
“As you know, I represented Daniel Brzozowski in Norwich Crown Court on Monday, June 17 – a young man aged just 20 years from Poland who came to our country eight years ago as his parents wanted a better life.
This is a young man who speaks good English, has no previous convictions and was working in the construction industry who achieved many licences allowing him operate a fork lift truck, Bobcat, weighbridges as well as being qualified as a banksman slinger and a deck handler.
Daniel comes from a very modest background where he knows he has to work hard to succeed.
In a single second, on a drunken night out, he punched another young male, aged 28 years, in the face.
He hit his head on the ground, leaving him in a coma for three months, being expected to die, and then coming round only for his family to be told that their son had received permanent brain damage.
The victim’s life has changed forever.
He cannot live without permanent assistance from his parents.
Daniel Brzozowski will, of course, not suffer those injuries and will not be held back physically by this incident beyond his three-year prison term.
However, it cannot be got away from that this affects two families.
Daniel Brzozowski is devastated and does not minimise the level of injury and the direct responsibility that he has for the permanent damage caused to the victim and their family.
Daniel Brzozowski now has to live the rest of his life knowing that he has affected someone else’s opportunities whilst, of course, limiting his own.
This case is about awareness for others.
Daniel Brzozowski never intended to do such harm, but because he did not think of the consequences he is a victim to his own naivety.
This, therefore, applies to us all at night – when we are in drink or not. Youngsters in particular who are in drink up and down the country, night after night, are just not aware of such high stakes when squaring up to someone. If you hit someone who has a more delicate skull bone than you would expect, then you are still guilty of causing that level of harm.
You cannot get away from the lasting consequences and it is a lottery to ignore it.
So that means if you are prepared to punch someone to the face or kick them in the stomach then be prepared to accept that that person may have an embolism that reacts severely through that direct impact.
Or that the person you have punched, who themselves may be drunk, may hit the floor harder than if they were sober.
If you kill them, which in this case was extremely possible, then you would be looking at an even longer sentence than Daniel Brzozowski.
Daniel has left his baby, his girlfriend, his home. Daniel cannot financially support his family and this will appear on his previous convictions for life.
Daniel has the lasting memory of ruining another person’s life. Daniel Brzozowski is extremely remorseful, extremely sorry for the victim and their family but, worse, now knows exactly the responsibility his actions has on others. Had he known this before that night then he would not have punched this young man but instead would have walked away.
I am a barrister and I defended Daniel Brzozowski and others for such matters all too regularly.
I hope that this experience, where there is sadness and pain on both sides, makes others realise that walking away and not getting involved is not a sign of weakness but a sense and realisation that to do anything more may have far greater consequences than believing you are in control.”