Jaw is broken after stag night fracas


- Credit: Archant

A CLEVEDON father has narrowly avoided jail after breaking a man’s jaw with a single punch.

Mark Bryant had been drinking with a group of men on a stag night when the incident happened outside The Salthouse pub.

The 45-year-old, of Old Church Road, appeared at Bristol Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Matthew Davis.

During the evening of August 12 last year, Mr Davis was at the Clevedon seafront pub with a friend on the eve of his birthday.

Also at the busy nightspot was a group of six or seven men on a stag night, including self-employed builder Bryant, some of whom were known to Mr Davis.

Following an earlier fracas between the two groups, caused when the stag sat on Mr Davis’ lap, an atmosphere remained. Later in the evening, while Mr Davis was talking to the stag, Bryant punched him in the face.

Julian Howells, prosecuting, said: “He fell straight down. He ended up on the floor, bleeding heavily from the mouth.”

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Mr Davis went to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol the next day when it was discovered his jaw had been fractured in two places.

He had screws in place for two weeks and his jaw also had to be wired. Even now he suffers discomfort, numbness and twinges.

Following the incident, Bryant was interviewed by police.

Mr Howells added: “He said he had punched Mr Davis but also that he regarded him as a bully and a fighter. He said he saw Mr Davis square up and so struck him.”

Defending Bryant, Giles Nelson said: “It was an unedifying piece of behaviour.

“It is a source of shame for the defendant that he behaved in that way.

“He went voluntarily to the police station and was horrified he had broken this man’s jaw.”

Judge Michael Longman handed Bryant a 50-week prison sentence suspended for two years, a three-month curfew and an order to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the next year. He was also told to pay £500 compensation to his victim.

Judge Longman said: “You punched Matthew Davis and you punched him for no good reason whatsoever.

“Your going to prison would not only shatter your family’s life but also your partnership with your business partner.

“Your family would be thrown on to the state for survival financially.

“No-one should think I condone violence like this and no-one should think Matthew Davis’ injuries have been underestimated.”