A 27-year-old electrician has narrowly avoided prison after drunkenly pushing a pint glass into the face of a pub manager who intervened when he was “pestering” a group of women on the dancefloor.
Stephen Christopher Murray (27) - who was handed 240 hours' community service by the Royal Court on Friday - was told to “consider [himself] to be extremely lucky indeed” that his circumstances were so exceptional that he would avoid jail.
The words came from the Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache, who said that it was “with a great deal of hesitation” that the Court imposed a community service order rather than a prison sentence.
The Court heard that the 'glassing' took place on 7 December last year when Murray was trying to dance with a group of women at ‘The Office’ bar on Hope Street. When it became clear that they weren’t responding to his advances, the Manager and Licensee of the premises intervened, telling the 27-year-old to leave the friends alone.
Pictured: Murray was handed 240 hours' community service for the pint glass assault.
To this, Murray reportedly told him to “f*** off” twice before pushing the man, striking him in the face with his right hand, continually pushing it into his face and then he “forcefully brought his left hand, which was holding a pint glass, across and onto the right side of the victim’s face.”
The ‘glassing’ was captured by the bar’s CCTV cameras.
It was accepted that the glass was not used intentionally as a weapon, but it was rather a matter of Murray having thrust his arm out without realising he was still holding it - this is the agreed basis on which the 27-year-old has pleaded guilty to the offence.
The Court heard that the altercation happened after Murray had consumed around 10 pints of beer. When he was interviewed at the Police station, he could not recall anything of the incident, but apologised for his behaviour when he was read a statement from his victim.
Pictured: Murray was arrested and taken to the Police station to be interviewed.
Crown Advocate Conrad Yates told the Court that, in the victim’s 37-year career in the hospitality industry, he has “never come across such a callous act.”
Describing glassing as a “hideous crime”, the Crown Advocate invited the Court to impose an 18-month prison sentence for the drunken assault, an exclusion order preventing Murray for entering licensed premises. He also argued that Murray should pay compensation to his victim and contribute to prosecution costs.
Murray's legal representative, Advocate James Bell, made the case for a non-custodial sentence. He argued that “the seriousness of this position is not lost on Mr Murray”, offering his client’s apologies to the Court and everyone affected by his behaviour.
Pictured: Murray appeared in the Royal Court for sentencing.
He emphasised Murray’s “good character” – having never been convicted of anything before – and his “excellent employment record”. The Defence Advocate added that the Probation Service had assessed Murray as being at “very low” risk of reoffending.
Advocate Bell also made reference to his client’s willingness to apologise to his victim in a “sincere and genuine” display of remorse for his actions.
“Public interest does not on this occasion require the Court to send Mr Murray to prison,” he claimed, adding that his unique combination of mitigating factors should warrant a community service order to give him the opportunity to “pay something back."
Murray was ultimately sentenced to 240 hours of community service, a year-long exclusion order and was ordered to pay £1,136.25 to his victim by way of compensation for his pain and suffering and loss of income as a result of the attack.
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