Man guilty of one-punch attack given suspended jail sentence

ONE man has permanent nerve damage from a single punch to the head, another man narrowly escapes jail time. 

One night and a few too many drinks could have easily ruined both lives, magistrate Terry Lucas said in Orange Local Court on Thursday.

Scott Bernard Cole, of Alison Place, punched the victim in the side of the face, which broke his jaw and caused his head to hit the bar at The Royal Hotel on Saturday, November 30 last year. 

The victim was sent to Westmead Hospital the next day, suffering nerve damage to parts of his face.

Mr Lucas told Cole that if his case had been heard in the District Court he could have been sent to jail for seven years, but the maximum penalty allowed in Local Court was two years. 

"Another man in our community has a permanent injury, because you decided to get drunk," Mr Lucas said.

"You are now facing two years jail time from the actions of one night.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Andy Bobin asked for jail time for the 22-year-old because the court needed to send a clear message.

"The community is becoming fed up," he said. 

"Alcohol-fuelled violence will not be tolerated regardless ... of previous record."

Sergeant Bobin said that Cole was the second person in Orange charged recently with the same modus operandi of a "king-hit, coward punch, sucker punch". 

Cole initially slapped the victim, but the victim did not turn around and continued to face the bar.

Ten seconds later, Cole punched him. 

Cole's solicitor Neil Jones said his client had no previous record, was unlikely to re-offend and took "ownership" of what he had done the moment police went to his home.

However, he argued his client was provoked and the victim had been making comments to Cole and his cousins on numerous occasions before Cole punched him in the face. 

"What is clear from what is before the court is that it is something out of character for this man," he said. 

Mr Jones said in November, 2010 a man was charged with a similar offence before Orange Local Court and was given a good behaviour bond for two years, and asked for the same punishment to be given to Cole. 

Mr Lucas gave Cole a two-year suspended jail sentence.

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