Man who punched publican is spared prison sentence

News from the courts

News from the courts

A 37-year-old Foxdale man has been given a suspended sentence for assault after punching a pub licensee twice.

Richard John Melia, of Brookfield Terrace, was this week sentenced to 16 weeks custody, suspended for two years, and also ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to the licensee.

The court heard how, on April 22 at 11.30pm, police were called to the Rovers Return in Church Street in Douglas and found Melia being restrained on the ground outside the pub.

Witnesses said that he had assaulted the licensee, Guy Armstrong-Rossiter, who had visible facial injuries.

Earlier in the evening Melia was said to have been refused entry by Mr Armstrong-Rossiter, who said that he was heavily intoxicated.

Melia was abusive but left, only to return 10 minutes later, confronting the licensee again, saying: ‘I’m gonna have you. I’m gonna smack you.’

Melia pressed his forehead against the publican’s before punching him on the jaw.

The licensee fell to the floor before getting up, but Melia then punched him again in the left eye.

Melia’s rage continued and as he was restrained he said: ‘I’m going to kill you.’

Mr Armstrong-Rossiter suffered a broken tooth and contusion of the left eye.

In court on Tuesday, Melia’s advocate Peter Russell handed in several glowing letters of reference for his client.

Mr Russell said: ‘My client is still unable to explain why he acted in the manner he did. We know from CCTV footage he was refused entry to the Outback.

‘We aren’t sure why, but at that stage he was bleeding from the head. It’s only speculation but at some stage he may have fallen and had a blow to the head.

‘He doesn’t remember the incident. Yes he was drunk, but he has never acted in such a manner before. Perhaps a combination of drink and a blow to the head caused him to misinterpret the situation and lash out.

‘This has had something of a devastating impact on his life to the level he self-referred to Motiv8 (the alcohol advisory service).

‘He didn’t have a drink for three months after this and now only has the occasional glass of wine. Since the day of his arrest this has hung over him like a dark cloud.’

Deputy High Bailiff Jayne Hughes said while passing sentence: ‘You are aware of the vulnerable position Mr Armstrong-Rossiter was in.

‘The courts will always protect designated officials on licensed premises. But your remorse and shame has been evident from your demeanour.

‘It is probably the best set of references I’ve had the opportunity to read when dealing with sentencings.’

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