An 18-year-old man has been given community service in England after being so “off his face on drink” that he pushed one man and bit an off-duty Police Officer on the neck.
Jack John Higgins-Burnett, who resides in Hampshire, had originally pleaded not guilty to the biting charge, but changed his plea on 9 February.
The Magistrate’s Court was told by Crown Advocate Jenny McVeigh how Higgins-Burnett had been removed from Folies nightclub and then denied re-entry in the early hours of October 21 2022.
CCTV footage showed the defendant loitering around the club’s entrance, approaching the door staff several times, swearing before the incidents.
A group of off-duty Police Officers were aware of the defendant before he was escorted out of the club by staff and could be seen observing him while he attempted to regain entry.
Higgins-Burnett was then approached by two unknown males close to the door, he then pushed one of them backwards, before being apprehended by the off-duty officers.
They moved him over to the railings of the North Plantation and “attempted to calm him down” before the defendant bit one on the neck leaving teeth marks, according to Advocate McVeigh.
At the first Police interview that afternoon, Advocate McVeigh said Higgins-Burnett laughed and rolled his eyes, dismissing the seriousness of the episode. At a second interview he said he was unaware the second set of males were off-duty officers, and he was intimidated by them.
Defending Higgins-Burnett, Advocate Phoebe Cobb, said it was disappointing that the first time the audio accompanying the video was available to the defense had been the morning of sentencing.
But Judge Graeme McKerrell said, “the picture paints a thousand words”.
Advocate Cobb continued and said her client had been temporarily working in Guernsey as a floor layer for several weeks and was due to return to England the following week. The night of the offence he had been out for a meal with colleagues where there had been “free flowing alcohol”, she said.
While Higgins-Burnett had felt threatened by the group who apprehended him, the bite was a “misguided attempt at self-protection”.
Issue was taken with the way the off-duty officers handled the defendant, with Advocate Cobb saying it was not “executed in an entirely proportional way”.
She added that Higgins-Burnett was young man of good character with a supportive family, and he was now taking the incident seriously.
Judge McKerrell, sentencing, noted a favourable probation report and several supportive letters of representation.
But he said his “conduct in custody was hardly remorseful”, and that during the incident he had been “off his face” on alcohol and “behaving accordingly”.
Although the bite meant the custody threshold had been met, Judge McKerrell - “with a degree of hesitation” - decided to trust Higgins-Burnett and sentenced him to 90 hours of community service for the bite and 60 hours for the push, to run concurrently and to be served in England.
£300 in compensation was also ordered to be paid to the bite victim.
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