Student spared jail

A UNIVERSITY student who had hopes of becoming a teacher has avoided jail and been dealt a suspended prison sentence by magistrates.

Matthew Thomas has been jailed for 26 weeks suspended for 12 months after admitting an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against a reveller with whom he had an argument over a taxi on a night out.

The 31-year-old, of Powlett Road, Hartlepool, has also been given 12-months supervision by the Probation Service, ordered to pay £750 compensation and £85 costs.

The offence happened on September 23 after the undergraduate had been out on the town with his wife, also a student.

Thomas, who has never been in trouble with the law before, got into a row with another man over a taxi.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard that Thomas took a swing at the victim which did not connect.

However, the punching action caused the complainant to “stumble backwards and fall to the ground,” said prosecutor Graham Jacobs, and he fractured his wrist in two places.

“The defendant tried to kick him while he was there but again he missed.

“Two police officers saw this, came to restrain him and an altercation ensued. He was the CS sprayed and arrested.”

He added: “He had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol and has little recollection of the incident.

“The victim suffered two fractures of the wrist.”

Mitigating, John Relton, urged the bench not to send his client to prison, not only because of his remorse and previous good character, but also due to the impact a custodial sentence would have on his and his wife’s lives.

The court heard that if Thomas went to jail it would affect their finances and neither would be able to afford to continue at university.

He said: “His actions have already precluded him from a career in teaching which he wanted to pursue on completing his degree course.

“That momentary decision, moment of madness, whatever you want to call it, could turn their lives upside down. Please spare him his liberty today.”