After hearing the circumstances of a nightclub assault and mitigation, Mr. Justice Alex Henderson imposed what he called ‘a significant penalty, although not a jail sentence.’
The judge put Mark Steve McLean on probation for 18 months, with one condition being that he stay inside his residence from 7pm until 5am. ‘That is house arrest. That is the penalty I am imposing instead of a jail sentence,’ he told the defendant last week.
There are further conditions, beyond the standard requirements of keeping the peace and appearing before the court if directed to do so. McLean is not to be found with any weapon, except tools used in his employment, and he is not to be found within 100 feet of any nightclub or bar.
In addition, the defendant was to pay $3,778.68 to the Health Services Authority for the victim’s medical expenses. The court heard previously that the man’s jaw had been broken in three places and he underwent surgery.
Defence Attorney John Furniss had urged the court to say that it was not necessary to impose a term of immediate imprisonment, although the defendant did have a previous conviction for violence.
Mr. Furniss began his mitigation last July, after which the judge requested a social inquiry report. The September hurricane apparently intervened and sentencing did not take place until 21 January. There were several mentions meanwhile, with the attorney updating the court as to how much money McLean had saved toward compensation.
In fact, Mr. Furniss pointed out in July, McLean had indicated from an early stage that he was willing to pay the complainant’s hospital bills. But he always denied doing anything more than throwing one punch. He was not part of any kicking that then took place, the attorney emphasised.
He said that although McLean was not responsible for anything other than that first blow, the complainant’s injuries had resulted from ‘the totality of the incident’.
According to facts set out by the Crown, the man punched by McLean fell to the floor and was injured by the number of persons.
Three other people had been charged along with McLean at one stage for the offence of causing grievous bodily harm. Only McLean was committed to stand trial, however. In Grand Court, his plea was accepted to the lesser offence of causing actual bodily harm.
The incident occurred at a West Bay Road nightclub described as crowded in the early hours of 17 August 2002.
Mr. Justice Henderson asked about the circumstances. ‘Was the defendant in a drunken surly mood, or was the complainant being aggressive, or does anybody know?’
Crown Counsel Gail Johnson told him it was alleged that the complainant had bumped into McLean and an argument ensued. She indicated there may have been a misunderstanding as to who might have pushed whom and how aggressive that might have been.
The judge also heard in mitigation that McLean had expressed remorse and regret. Now 24, he worked six days a week and supported his three children.
In passing sentence, the judge said he was not ordering community service because he would rather have McLean continue working and supporting the children.
Mr. Furniss advised that he was holding the full amount of compensation from the defendant. The judge said he could pay it to the Health Services Authority.