A 42-year-old man who punched a 13-year-old boy in the face on the bus has been spared prison.
Magistrate Bridget Shaw instead gave Darren Carboulec a six-month suspended sentence – deciding it "would not help anyone" if he were locked up.
Carboulec admitted he assault, which took place on 26 August last year, when he appeared in the Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. St. Helier Centenier Paul Davies, prosecuting, said the teenager and his mother were returning home from holiday on a bus from the airport and sat on a seat in front of Carboulec.
The boy rested his head on a travel pillow and Carboulec pulled at it, which the boy thought was simply a playful gesture.
But the Centenier said: "He got up and punched the boy on the right-hand side of the face."
He said the assault had not caused lasting physical damage but had been psychologically damaging.
Carboulec also admitted disobeying a police officer’s order in a separate offence. On 19 February States police had been called to an address in St. Helier after reports of a disturbance. Carboulec and another man were arguing and he was told to leave the area but came back moments later.
Paul Nicholls, defending, said: "He is genuinely remorseful."
Of the assault on the teenager, he added: "He can’t properly explain why it took place."
The Magistrate, Bridget Shaw, told Carboulec: "For a child sitting on a bus with his mother, it was very frightening for an adult male to come over and punch him in the face."
She accepted there had been no lasting physical injury but said: "The psychological effect is much longer-term."
The court heard that Carboulec had cut down on his drinking since the incidents and was in stable accommodation, so Mrs Shaw added: "You are in a much better position now than you were last August, and I want you to maintain this position."
She suspended his sentence for the assault for a year, saying: "l don’t think actually sending you to prison is going to help anyone."
There was no separate penalty for disobeying a police officer.
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