RL player spared a jail term

SPARED: Jonathan Campbell. (d18051020)
SPARED: Jonathan Campbell. (d18051020)

A RUGBY league player has been spared jail after punching a man so hard he was left permenantly brain damaged.

Leeds Crown Court was shown footage of the moment Jonathan Campbell, 23, met former soldier Brett Garside in Longcauseway, Dewsbury, and punched him in the head, knocking him unconscious.

The blow caused bruising and swelling to Mr Garside’s brain for which he needed surgery to remove part of his skull. He was in hospital for two months.

Campbell, of Parker Road, Thornhill Lees, admitted assault causing grievous bodily harm at an earlier hearing.

Because of his previous good character he was given a suspended sentence, meaning as long as he does not break the law in the next two years he will not go to prison.

Prosecuting at Leeds Crown Court, Louise Reevell said Mr Garside, 30, was at the Black Bull pub on November 14 2009, when he got into an argument with Campbell’s friends. They were all asked to leave by the landlord, and Campbell confronted Mr Garside.

Mrs Reevell said Campbell, who has played on trial for Batley Bulldogs, alleged Mr Garside made a racist remark, so Campbell punched him.

Since the incident, Mr Garside has suffered slurred speech, partial paralysis and short-term memory loss among other medical complaints. He requires a carer five days a week.

Mitigating, Richard Vardon read a number of statements from people describing Campbell as a pillar of the community.

He said: “The defendant is still a young man, who comes from a deprived background and has worked and worked hard in various capacities both voluntarily and paid for.”

Sentencing him on Monday, Judge Gillian Matthews QC said of Mr Garside: “His life has been ruined, and you have caused that with your stupid and mindless violence.” He was given a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £2,400 compensation.