A MAN who broke the cheekbone of a stranger with learning difficulties has been banned from all pubs in Tavistock.
Alex Bowen, aged 21, punched the man because he feared he was about to be glassed in Tavistock, a court heard.
Bowen denied that he knew the stranger had mental health difficulties. Bowen was given a suspended prison sentence at Plymouth Crown Court and banned from nine named pubs in the town for nine months.
Judge Ian Lawrie said: ‘You assaulted a man who was clearly vulnerable. You caused quite an unpleasant injury.’
But he said he could suspend his jail term because Bowen was working and would lose his home if locked up. Bowen admitted malicious wounding, causing grievous bodily harm without intent on July 16 last year.
The court heard he challenged the stranger whom he said was staring at him as he played pool in the Union Inn in King Street.
Bowen said he punched him once, when he picked up a glass — because he feared he was going to be struck with it.
Judge Lawrie said he accepted evidence that bar staff told Bowen about the man’s difficulties.
He added: ‘Because you were in drink or fired up, you did not hear them, or chose not to hear them.’
Bowen was handed an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. Bowen must pay his victim £1,500 compensation and £900 towards prosecution costs.