A night-clubber who broke a man’s eye socket with a single blow has been made to pay the victim £5,000 in compensation.
Kieran Bennett, 22, punched the man with such force it left him with a fractured orbital bone that required up to 10 stitches and a temporary plastic insertion to hold the socket in place.
The incident occurred at the Viper Rooms in Harrogate where two friends of Bennett and the victim got into an argument.
York Crown Court heard that Bennett strode over to the victim, who was not part of the altercation at that stage, and struck him once to the face.
Prosecutor Louise Pryke said violence erupted at the popular night spot at about 1am on March 20. Door staff treated the victim, who was taken to
Harrogate District Hospital by ambulance. He was then transferred to York District Hospital where doctors diagnosed a “trap-door” fracture of the eye socket.
The victim, who was in the second year of a university course, spent much of the Easter holidays in hospital and had to undergo emergency surgery.
He also suffered double vision and anxiety as a result of the attack.
“A temporary piece of plastic and eight-to-10 stitches had to be inserted into his eye socket,” said Ms Pryke. “There was also possible (facial) nerve damage.”
The court heard that the victim had suffered severe headaches and numbness to the face, which may indicate permanent nerve damage.
Bennett, a salesman for a car manufacturer, was arrested and charged with causing grievous bodily harm. He told officers he had acted in self-defence because he felt threatened.
He eventually admitted the assault and appeared for sentence on Friday, July 22, knowing that a prison sentence was a distinct possibility.
Bennett’s solicitor advocate Keith Whitehouse claimed his client, from Leeds, reacted after his friend was head-butted in the face during the fracas.
Judge Tom Bayliss QC told Bennett: “He (the victim) does not know whether the damage caused by you is permanent. Nearly half of his face is numb.
“He’s got headaches, suffers tiredness and says he is now a burden on his family.
“All this for no good reason other than that there was an altercation between one of his friends and one of your friends, which caused you to punch him.”
Mr Bayliss said that people who punch others in nightclubs “need to know that the courts will deal with it severely”, but added that Bennett’s guilty plea and lack of previous convictions had saved him from a prison sentence.
Instead, Bennett, of Meynell Walk, Holbeck, was given a community order with 250 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay the victim £5,000 compensation.