A judge has told a young Rugby man she came into court intending to jail him for his part in a violent incident which ended with one victim suffering a fractured eye socket.
But despite being subject to a suspended sentence at the time, Jordan Oliver escaped being jailed after the judge heard he had kept out of trouble for more than two years since then.
Oliver (21) of Parkfield Road, Newbold, Rugby, had denied a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
And on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court his plea of guilty to an alternative offence of affray was accepted after it was said it could not be proved he caused the injury.
Oliver, who also admitted a charge of assault, was sentenced to 21 months in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to take part in an offending programme for 60 days.
Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that on the evening of April 15, 2017, Pawel Gora, his wife and their children went to visit his wife’s parents at their home in Parkfield Road, Rugby.
During the evening there was a knock on the door, and when his father-in-law Jacek Wrobel answered it Oliver and another man said they wanted to see his son Karol, but were told he was not there and to leave.
They walked away from the house and got into a car, only to return a few minutes later.
Mr Wrobel again answered the door, and there was a row over them wanting to see Karol, during which Oliver punched him twice to the face, briefly knocking him unconscious.
Mr Gora came out and could see Mr Wrobel bleeding, so got between him and the two young men.
“There is then a public disorder during which Mr Gora receives a heavy blow to the left side of his face, but we don’t know who delivered that blow.
“He’s then dragged towards the road and there at further blows,” said Mr Windridge.
As a result of the incident, Mr Wrobel had a broken nose, but Mr Gora had a more serious injury, a disfigurement to his cheekbone which had pushed his eye out of alignment.
Mr Windridge added that at the time Oliver was subject to a six-month suspended sentence for possessing an offensive weapon.
Amy Jackson, defending, said: “This is a case that goes back over two years now to when he was 19.
“Of course it’s serious, but at that stage he was in a very different period in his life. He was homeless and he began to misuse substances. He was angry and he acted appallingly.
“But he has changed since then. He is now working with a counsellor and he has accommodation which has moved him from the area where he was living and he’s now living near his family.
“He’s been on an ‘acceptable behaviour contract,’ and he doesn’t use drink and he doesn’t use drugs, and he doesn’t mix with certain people.”
And Miss Jackson, who said the last time Oliver committed an offence was a theft in 2017 because he had no money to get to a probation appointment, added that he now has a part-time job.
Sentencing Oliver, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You’re here today because of a very serious offence you committed when you were 19 years old when you went to make trouble at the house of someone you knew.
“The trouble you made was for his family, because when they said he was not there, it was they who were assaulted.
“At the time you were subject to a suspended sentence for a weapons offence, so you had had a warning not to commit an offence, which you were not heeding.
“I came into court intending to send you immediately to prison, but what has swayed me is the length of time you have stayed out of trouble and the things you’ve done to help yourself.
“I am not today going to get in the way of the progress you have made.”