A TEENAGER whose punch left a Newport man without his eye was sentenced to three years behind bars, as the judge hearing the case criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for limiting his sentencing powers.
Jay Lloyd,18 of Cedar Drive, Rogerstone, appeared in Newport Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful wounding against Christopher Collins.
A 15-year-old, who cannot be named but was charged with common assault during the same incident, was handed a six-month referral order in the juvenile court last month.
Prosecutor David Webster told the court how on New Year’s Eve Mr Collins, 54, had gone to Baneswell Social Club with his wife and two adult daughters. A taxi arrived to take the family home but when there wasn’t enough room, Mr Collins offered to walk.
While walking up Stow Hill he passed a group of five young men, one of whom claimed he had bumped into him. Mr Collins apologised and walked on but was told by the 15-year-old, “you can’t just walk away”. Another man, Lloyd joined his friend and as Mr Collins turned to go he felt a “tremendous pain to the right side of his face.”
Mr Webster said: “He was utterly helpless.”
He fell to his hands and knees and tried to get out of the middle of the road before managing to call his wife for help.
Lloyd’s single blow fractured Mr Collins cheek and caused his eyeball to rupture, injuries Mr Webster described as “truly devastating”.
Mr Collins underwent surgery to insert a metal plate in his cheek and a second operation to remove his eyeball.
“The psychological effect of this violent attack has been so traumatic that he no longer feels comfortable outside his own home,” said Mr Webster.
Lloyd's previous convictions include a violent assault and a theft both in 2010, and he was on a youth rehabilitation order when this took place.
Judge Thomas Crowther called the charge of wounding “unbelievable” and asked why the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had not thought it necessary to appoint a jury to decide whether Lloyd had intended to cause really serious harm.
He said: “I make no criticism of the police because I know they charge what the CPS authorise them to. But it seems to me this is a case in which not only the victim, but also the wider public, may well think my options are inadequate as a result of that vital charging decision.”
He requested a written explanation from the CPS.
The court heard how Lloyd had seen a post on Facebook detailing what has happened to Mr Collins, a few days after the incident and on January 8, Lloyd handed himself in at Newport police station.
Meirion Davies, mitigating, said: “He is clearly a man who is profoundly remorseful.”
Judge Crowther said: “You inflicted grievous bodily harm and it is on that basis you will be sentenced.
“You accepted you had a very hard punch – it seems to be a matter of pride to you. You are a danger to the public and people who you may chance upon.
“The harm was serious. As to culpability, you were a member of a gang and the victim was outnumbered. You used your fist on a man who was walking away and unable to defend himself. There is no one to blame in this case but you.”
Lloyd’s early guilty plea was given full credit and he was sentenced to three years, half of which will be served in custody and the other half on release on license.