Accounts officer hid under a bed after punching visitor in street

Sunday 11th September 2022 5:06 am
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Exterior view of the Isle of Man Courthouse in Douglas - (Isle of Man Newspapers )

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An accounts officer who punched a 56-year-old visitor in the street has been handed a suspended sentence.

Michael Trevor France admitted assault causing actual bodily harm after the incident in Castle Street in Douglas.

The victim suffered a cut near to his eye and broken glasses.

France initially pleaded not guilty to the charge but then changed his plea to guilty at the pre-trial review.

High Bailiff Jayne Hughes sentenced the 30-year-old to five months in custody, suspended for two years, and also made him the subject of a two-year suspended sentence supervision order.

He must also pay £1,000 compensation to the victim and £250 prosecution costs.

We previously reported that France, who lives at Cronk y Berry View, Douglas, assaulted the man in an unprovoked attack on May 22 at 12.20am.

The victim was visiting the island to watch his son play football at the Bowl.

Police later found France hiding under a bed in a property on Douglas promenade.

France claimed that he thought the man had said something about his daughter which had prompted the punch.

Prosecuting advocate Roger Kane said that it was not accepted by the prosecution that the victim had made any provoking remarks.

Defence advocate Ian Kermode handed in letters of reference for his client and said that France had believed there had been a remark about his daughter, but he acknowledged the emotional and physical harm he had caused to the victim.

Mr Kermode said the incident had involved one single punch, with no premeditation, and had been a momentary loss of self-control by his client.

‘He does accept he had had a few alcoholic drinks and that perhaps contributed, though he was not heavily intoxicated,’ said the advocate.

Mr Kermode said that the cut suffered by the victim may have been caused by his glasses, but France accepted that he was responsible for the injury.

The advocate went on to say that France was working as an internal accounting officer after self-funding an accountancy course, but if he was sent to jail he would lose his job.

‘He has a promising career ahead of him. He has been studying and progressing well,’ said Mr Kermode.

The advocate asked the court to consider the article eight human rights of France’s children and handed in a letter of apology to be forwarded to the victim.

In the letter, France said: ‘To say I am disgusted with myself is an understatement.’

A probation report assessed France as a low risk of re-offending and of harm to the public and said that his last conviction was in 2017.

The High Bailiff said that she was suspending the sentence after considering the article eight rights of France’s children, the fact that he would lose his job if jailed, and that supervision would give him the opportunity to address issues mentioned in the probation report.

He will pay the compensation and costs at a rate of £50 per month.