Glass attacker’s appeal refused

Court news
Court news

A rugby player, locked up for an alcohol-fuelled glass attack in a nightclub, has been told by top judges he deserved every day of his jail term.

Franklin Everton Coltrane Watson smashed a pint glass into a man’s face during the assault at Harvey’s Bar, in Matlock, in October last year.

The 20-year-old, of Long Row, Belper, was caged for 12 months at Derby Crown Court in April, after he admitted unlawful wounding. He was back in the dock at London’s Criminal Appeal Court on Thursday, July 3, where his lawyers argued the term was ‘too long’ for his crime.But his appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s top judges, who said a year was ‘not excessive’ for a serious attack in a public place.

The court heard Watson and some friends were drinking in the bar on October 12 last year when there was an altercation between one of his group and some friends of the victim, 21-year-old Joshua Power.

Believing his friend was in danger of being attacked, Watson grabbed hold of Mr Power and hit him with his right hand, in which he was holding his drink, smashing the pint glass in the process.

Mr Power then fell to the ground before a brawl broke out on the dance floor of the club. Watson, who played for Belper Rugby Club before being locked up, initially said he could not remember being involved in any incident, but admitted his guilt after seeing CCTV of the attack.

The court heard that, while he had previous cautions for assault, the attack was out of character for Watson, who had always been in work since leaving school and wrote a letter apologising to his victim.

His barrister, Julie Warburton, argued his sentence was over the top, in light of his youth and his personal circumstances.

She said he had a ‘tendency’ to help friends who were being bullied, which was the background to the assaults for which he was cautioned in the past.

But, dismissing his appeal, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said the term was ‘not excessive’ in light of the serious nature of the offence, committed in the context of binge drinking.

Sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Judge Martyn Zeidman QC, he added: “We find ourselves unable to accept that this sentence is either excessive, or a sentence which was wrong in principle.

“This was a serious case and it was a serious case in a form which is prevalent and which the courts cannot be seen to tolerate. In those circumstances, we consider that the judge was right, having weighed up the various factors, to stand back and say - as he did - that a sentence of 12 months was the shortest possible term he could impose.”