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"Impulsive" shove fractures “alcoholic's” arm

Saturday 12 October 2019

"Impulsive" shove fractures “alcoholic's” arm

Saturday 12 October 2019

A man has been given 140 hours of community service for injuring a stranger, who had been sat outside the Town Church drinking.

Luke Mullan, 35, had pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm in front of Guernsey's Magistrate's Court.

Mullan had taken the day off to watch the annual air display and at about 17:40 on 6 June was walking through Town having spent some time in the pub. Heading through Town Church Square, the defendant noticed a group of people sat on a bench “shouting offensive comments at passers by“. He said it was clear the group had been drinking.

When a member of the group began insulting Mullan and making rude gestures, the defendant walked towards the bench and started arguing with him.

As the argument went on, CCTV showed the defendant push another member of the group - who had not been directly involved in the altercation - onto the bench. A member of the public then stepped in and told both the defendant and the group to calm down.

Town Church Square

Pictured: The incident took place in Town Church Square.

The man Mullan had pushed believed he had broken his arm when he landed on the bench, so was taken to hospital. There doctors confirmed he had a fracture. 

Guernsey's Magistrate's Court heard how the victim's alcoholism meant he was prone to breaking bones, and that the same impact may not have caused such a severe injury for someone without the condition.

The victim said the incident had had a big impact on his life, affecting both his ability to carry out everyday tasks and his mental health.

It was reported to Guernsey Police, who later released a social media appeal to find the defendant. That same day, after seeing the post, Mullan handed himself in at the Police Station.

In his defence, Advocate Sam Steel explained how Mullan had felt threatened by the group's behaviour and that he hadn't intended to hurt anyone.

court entrance

Pictured: The defendant was sentenced in the Magistrate's Court.

"I feel especially ashamed that I have caused pain and suffering to a vulnerable man," the defendant said. "I assure you that after today I will not stand in front of the Court again for breaking the law."

Mullan has no relevant previous convictions.

"He acted impulsively and momentarily," added Advocate Steel. "He acted out of character in a moment of madness."

On sentencing, Judge Graeme McKerrell accepted that the defendant had not gone out "looking for trouble".

"Had you not been drinking you would not be here today," he said. "You misread the situation, but it was your choice to drink. I cannot ignore the severity of the injury."

Judge McKerrell decided to take an "exceptional" approach to Mullan's sentence, giving a 140 hour community service order rather than sending the defendant to prison.

"I do not believe you will offend again," he said. "Do not let me down."

Pictured top: Town Church Square.

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