Sir Michael Birt, Kt., Bailiff, and Jurats Kerley and Milner.
The Attorney General
Colin Thomas Greenlee
Sentencing by the Inferior Number of the Royal Court, following a guilty plea to the following charge:
1 counts of:
Grave and criminal assault (Count 1).
Details of Offence:
Two days after being released from prison for, inter alia, grave and criminal assault, the defendant assaulted the victim, a friend of his fiancée. The defendant and his fiancée were in the outside seating area at Café Jacs at the Arts Centre. At about 5 p.m., the defendant, who had been drinking heavily took exception to the victim sitting at his table and the two had a verbal altercation. The defendant then stood up and made to grab the victim by the throat, but she pushed him away. She sat down, but raised her leg in front of her as she felt he was going to approach again. The defendant pushed the table into her and then picked the table up by the leg and raised it towards the victim. All the glasses on the table smashed to the floor, and the victim thinks that the table caught her on the forehead. At one point the victim took hold of the table and tried to push it away. However the defendant pushed the table at her once more, causing her to lose her balance and fall backwards onto a chair and then onto the street, cutting her hands on the broken glass. The defendant was shouting and swearing throughout the incident.
The victim suffered bruising and small cuts to her hands. She reported that her forehead was sore and her hip was stiff.
In interview, the defendant claimed that the victim had merely "toppled" over when he moved her chair because he did not want her to sit with them. The defendant denied that there had been any shouting before the victim fell, and said that he had been in an "OK" mood. He denied picking up the table and using it to hit the victim and also denied making to grab her throat. He described the allegation that the table had caught the victim on the head as "rubbish".
Assessed as being at high risk of reconviction.
Details of Mitigation:
Crown: guilty plea. Expressions of remorse in the defendant's letter to the Court should be viewed with scepticism given comments made to the probation officer.
Defence: letter shows genuine remorse, functioning alcoholic, making constructive use of his time at La Moye, had instructed counsel not to urge a non-custodial sentence
Poor record, including two assaults and three grave and criminal assaults. Much of his offending took place in the early 1970s. Between 1974 and early 2013 he appeared before the courts on five occasions, largely for alcohol-related driving offences. In the last twelve months he has been sentenced for an assault, a grave and criminal assault and a drink-driving offence, as well as being dealt with for breaches of non-custodial sentences.
15 months' imprisonment.
Exclusion Order sought excluding the defendant from 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th category licensed premises excluding the Multiplex Cinema, the Jersey Arts Centre, Jersey Airport, the ferry terminal at Elizabeth Harbour and the Opera House for a period of 12 months from the date of release from prison.
Sentence and Observations of Court:
C. M. M. Yates, Esq., Crown Advocate.
Advocate D. A. Corbel for the defendant.
1. As you accept, your problem is your dependency on alcohol. You have shown that you can function well and you have had long periods when you have not been in trouble with the courts but recently things seem to have deteriorated and you have been before the courts several times. You were convicted of an assault on your partner in February 2013; at that stage the Court gave you a chance with probation and community service but within a matter of days you had committed another assault on her and you were sent to prison for 9 months. Two days after your release from that prison sentence you committed the present offence at the Arts Centre. You got into an altercation with the victim, who was a female friend of your then partner, and you assaulted her by picking up a table and pushing it against her, glasses broke and fell to the floor and she cut her hands and suffered bruising from what you did. It must have been a frightening experience for her and probably for anyone who was witnessing it. We agree it is close to the lower end of a grave and criminal assault but it was still a nasty assault on a woman.
2. Advocate Corbel has pointed out your guilty plea, which we note of course, and the letter that you have written to us acknowledging what happened and acknowledging your remorse. We are particularly pleased to hear that, unlike the last prison sentence, you are now taking advantage, whilst on remand, of everything they have to offer at the prison, because they can help, particularly in relation to alcohol dependence. You are attending the courses and you have told us, through your advocate, that you do not feel quite ready for release yet. You want to be sure that when you come out, you really are in a position to face the outside world and to make a break with people who have got you into trouble in the past. We are very impressed with that and we commend you for it. As a result you have instructed your advocate not to oppose the conclusions of a prison sentence; we think that was very realistic; we have to say we would have imposed a prison sentence in any event, even had your advocate urged otherwise, but, as I say, we accept that what you are saying to us does suggest that you really want to try and break away from the pattern you have got yourself into. We have considered whether we can reduce the sentence to 12 months but we think that for this assault we cannot impose less than 15 months.
3. We impose impose a sentence of 15 months' imprisonment.
4. We are going to make the Exclusion Order as requested by the Crown and we hope that that will help you keep out of trouble when you are released because it will prevent you going into the sort of pubs and clubs where you might drink and then get yourself into trouble again. So we are going to make the Exclusion Order as requested for 12 months from the date of release.