A 22-year-old man has been jailed for 12 months for what the Court described as an “unpleasant and almost feral” assault during which he bit a man’s cheek after being put in a headlock and wrestled to the ground at the Watersplash.
Alexander Rodney Buesnel appeared before Royal Court today facing one count of criminal assault.
Summing up the facts, Crown Advocate Julian Gollop told Court that on 14 December, Buesnel and the victim, who didn’t know each other, were both at the Watersplash.
After Buesnel had an altercation on the dancefloor with one of the victim’s friends, he followed him and the victim’s girlfriend into the smoking area. After seeing Buesnel push both his friend and girlfriend, the victim grabbed him from behind and put him in a headlock.
Both then fell to the floor and, while they were wrestling, the Court heard that Buesnel received injuries from unknown parties. His lawyer, Advocate David Steenson, said he had been kicked and stamped on his head, and that his eye had been gouged.
Pictured: Crown Advocate Julian Gollop described the “alcohol-fuelled” assault as “serious and unpleasant”.
Buesnel bit the victim during the struggle, leaving him bleeding from his nose and cheek. Crown Advocate Gollop said the man had been left with “minor permanent scars” as a result.
Shortly after the incident, multiple calls and texts were made from the phone of a woman who had been with Buesnel at the Watersplash, leaving the victim feeling “threatened” the Court heard.
While he initially pleaded not guilty to the assault, Buesnel eventually admitted having bitten the man to his cheek, accepting it was “an overreaction to the overall situation” and that he had not acted in reasonable self-defence.
Crown Advocate Gollop described the “alcohol-fuelled” assault as “serious and unpleasant”, saying Buesnel had used his “teeth as a weapon."
He said that while the victim had offered “some provocation” by pulling Buesnel into a headlock, Buesnel had been the “initial aggressor."
The Crown Advocate credited Buesnel for acknowledging he had gone beyond “reasonable safe defence."
Referring to a Social Enquiry Report (SER), he said Buesnel had expressed regret at the severity of the assault, but was “reluctant to take full responsibility” and “downplaying the adverse effect that his alcohol consumption had that night and on other occasions when he has acted in an anti-social manner."
The Crown Advocate noted that Buesnel had a criminal record, having been first convicted at the age of 17 and recommended a 18-month prison sentence.
Pictured: Advocate David Steenson was defending Buesnel.
Advocate Steenson said Buesnel’s offence was typical of “drunken laddish immature boorish behaviour” and that he didn’t have any “compelling reason” to explain what his client had done.
“He isn’t a chap who goes out on a regular basis and gets into fights,” he told the Court.
While he said Buesnel had been foolish to fight with the other man on the dancefloor, he said what had followed “did not lie only at his door."
The defence lawyer said that being grabbed and being put in a headlock would have been frightening for Buesnel in an “already highly charged atmosphere."
He said that Buesnel had done “completely the wrong thing” but suggested he could have come out of the incident worse than the victim as he was kicked and stamped to his face, and a finger put in his eye.
Advocate Steenson said the incident was not “a deliberate attack on a select victim”, but rather a spontaneous act while Buesnel was “in the throes of being beaten up by a number of people."
He went on to say that, had Buesnel not been put in a headlock and wrestled out to the ground, he wouldn’t have lashed out in the way he did.
The defence lawyer said his client was not “a deep thinker”, acknowledging his way of thinking sometimes displayed immaturity.
He gave the court a series of references in which Buesnel was described as “genuinely caring and loyal… hardworking… honest… an “inherently good person."
One of his family’s friends urged the Court not to send him to prison, saying he would be “an asset to help the community."
Advocate Steenson suggested the Court impose a non-custodial sentence, urging them to grant Buesnel one last chance out of leniency and mercy.
Pictured: The Court decided to impose a lesser sentence than the one sought by the Crown Advocate.
The Bailiff, Tim Le Cocq, who was sitting with Jurats Pam Pitman and Rozanne Thomas, described the assault as “unpleasant and almost feral."
While the Court had taken into account the mitigation and references which pointed to a different side of Buesnel’s character, the Bailiff said they couldn’t avoid a custodial sentence.
They however opted to reduce the sentence sought by the Crown to 12 months.
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