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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71130
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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A few weeks ago I was in a pub I don't drink in.

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Hello. A few weeks ago I was in a pub I don't drink in. After too many drinks I hit a man with a single punch and broke his jaw and knocked him out this was all recorded on CCTV. He approached me but I threw that one punch. We were seen having a few words on camera and then I went to the middle of the pub doing a jovial windmill motion.I was then thrown out of the pub. A few hours later I was arrested and taken to a cell. After advice from the solicitor supplied I said no comment throughout. I am due to be charged in 6 weeks with GBH 18. I wondered what the chances are of the charge being lowered to GBH 20 as I didn't realise the 1 punch would cause such damage. In both cases GBH 20 and 18 what sentences am I looking at please? I am 40 with no previous convictions. I have a wife and 2 year old who rely on me financially. I have raised over £30,000 for charities through marathons etc and have worked for many large software companies. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Any update please?

Hello what exactly drove you to punch this person?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Far too much alcohol and stresses that had been weighing on my mind I think. Not a specific reason I can remember unfortunately. It's a little bit of a blur but having seen the CCTV footage it is clear I hit him first. We can be seen chatting at the bar, we have a disagreement and I walk to the middle of the pub doing this silly windmill action, he takes his coat off and then he approaches me and I hit him. 2 drunk men but unfortunately my punch made him to fall to the floor and loose consciousness and break his jaw.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also not in my favour is this man is a local in this pub where I am not. It is a pub you wouldn't choose to drink if you know what I mean. I would never normally go into a pub like it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Lastly I'm clearly extremely worried about not seeing my daughter and wife if I get a prison sentence. It is consuming every minute of everyday. I have made a huge mistake and am not really sure what to do if I'm charged with an 18. Try and bring it down to a 20 or just plead guilty to an 18... I haven't been charged yet but I was originally arrested for an 18. Do they ever come down to a 20 when actually charged?

will he give evidence against you?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello. I'm not sure yet. Can I ask the police? Or do I have to wait until charged in 6 weeks? I would presume yes as he must be very angry, putting it midly, that I broke his jaw. I am sure the witnesses would be the other locals in the pub so any witness statements would not be in my favour but I don't know this for a fact. Any help would be appreciated re the likelihood of my charge dropping from an 18 to a 20, whether I should risk fighting an 18 to get it down to a 20 or just plead guilty and what the best and worst cases would be re sentencing. I guess like all people in this situation I desperatly want to stay out of prison and am praying for a suspended sentence and damages but I'm not sure if I am being very unrealistic. Thanks

I would have expected them to add a S20 as an alternative. S18 is a harder offence to prove and it isn’t really made out here.

The circumstances would be taken into account but it doesn’t change the fact that he did suffer a serious head injury.

As far as a S18 goes this really straddles between category two and category three. The starting point then would be either 4-6 years.

It seems to fit S20 better where it is really a category two offence and the starting point would be 18 months and the range 1 - 3 years.

Can I clarify anything for you?


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the update. So there really is no chance of this being a suspended sentence? It is pretty positive I will have to go to prison and serve the potential below sentences? Thanks

Not for a S18.

It is possible for a S20.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. Last question if ok. If they were going to potentially lower it to a 20 when I am finally charged would it be stated on my ' Notice to Suspect'. As it clearly just states Section 18 GBH. Would it have said both or do they always state the highest charge only on a Notice to Suspect? Trying to understand my chances of it being lowered as this seems the only way to potentially stay out of prison? Thanks for help. One moment of madness can change your life forever.

Not sure what you mean by notice to suspect.

If you are charged then it should be either a charge sheet or an indictment.

Usually they would allege either a S18 or a S20 in the alternative. If I were prosecuting this I would add a S20 just for safety. S18 is too high.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Please see attached. Would they have stated GBH 20 on here also? Thanks for your help. No more questions. Just have to wait to be charged.... Have a good weekend.

That is just a bail notice.

That means nothing at all.

Police officers will always arrest for the most serious offence because it gives them greater powers.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry can I ask one more final question please? In the case of a charge of GBH 20 what is the best way to try and get a suspended sentence? What factors are taken into consideration when a judge/jury decide to suspend a sentence or not? Should I focus my defence on the current stresses in my life or just plead guilty etc.

Pleading guilty is always helpful.

There are counsel who disagree with me but I would rarely mitigate on the basis of stresses. I think Judges just interpret it as whinging and trying to make excuses. The way to raise domestic responsibilities is to make the point that other people depend upon you for some reason or another.

Your best point here though is that there was a degree of provocation.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Good Morning. Appreciate you might not be able to answer this ( as you have already answered many questions/you haven't got the case in front of you) but if you had to try and pre-empt my sentence what do you think I will receive? Presuming this will end up in a Crown Court also? Thanks

If it is an 18 then it can only be tried in the crown court. A s20 could stay down but it won't. You are much better off in the crown court though anyway.

If it is a broken jaw then it is probably a s20 and it probably falls in category two or three so around 18 months. If I were having to guess without papers.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. If it is suspended will I loose my current job? I presume the press coverage will ensure I do? I know clearly it will effect getting a new role also.

I don't do employment work. People are sentenced all the time and don't lose their job. Unless you are a well known person I would be surprised if the press are interested.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I was in our local paper as I have run the Marathon des Sables twice for charity and they interviewed me. I wonder if the local paper will therefore be interested in the charge etc as its a fall from grace etc........I know you don't work for the press but do you think in your opinion this will make it more likely I will be in the paper when charged etc? Really it's the last of my worries but I would still like to know your thoughts thanks

It depends what else is in that week. If it is a slow news day then maybe. It is not an obvious target though. Not many people read the local press anyway. Quite a lot of people don't read at all

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for all your help. Finally ( actually finally) any advice going forward? Very good solicitor, show the remorse I clearly feel, get as many character references as I can etc. Thanks again

You did have a solicitor in police interview I presume ?

I am happy to continue with this but please rate my answer.

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Please can I get the link again re the tip? I accidentally pressed the wrong link. You have been very helpful.

Im not sure how you do that but I'm sure customer services will help. You can contact them on***@******.***

Can I help further?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Once I have the link again, can I ask another question? In answer to your last question I had a solicitor provided by the local Police station but due to the severity of the crime was going to look at hiring another Solicitor......Is it true that it is more likely for a victim to get compensation from the accused if they get a suspended sentence? Or is compensation just the same if you serve a sentence? Thanks

No, compensation isn't affected.

I suppose that a compensation award wouldn't be made by the criminal courts if a person were in custody but their eyes will be on the civil courts.

They won't get much for this and they will have to pay to sue.

If compensation is their goal then what they have to do is say that somebody they don't remember touched them at a place they don't remember 100 years ago.

Or they could always work and earn money ethically.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have emailed***@******.***. Ok thank you. I am just presuming they would be looking for compensation, I was in a suit etc in this very basic pub etc but they could just want me to go to prison. I have no idea who this man is. Any other advice re going forward at all? Show the remorse I feel, character references etc

In my experience, compensation hunters tend to be women more than men.

Character references are always good.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello. Hope your well? I have just received a letter from the Solicitors that were provide to me when I was interviewed after the incident in the police station. They have put back my charge by 11 days. Is this a negative thing? Can you give me some reasons why they might do this? They have the CCTV footage so they have the 'evidence' as such. Can you help? Thank you

Not really. They are probably just busy or need to do some other investigative work. There is nothing in delay per se.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Would you say this is quite common? Could they put this back again? Or is once the only time they could do this? Thanks

Oh yes, fairly. There are never enough officers to do anything at the moment. Although it wouldn't be so bad if they didn't spend all their energy investigating false allegations of sexual abuse one hundred years ago.

Half the time against dead people. Or mediating domestic squabbles which we euphemistically call 'domestic abuse.'

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Very true! I have just been told by my Solicitor that it could be to do with an ID issue. On the CCTV footage you can't actually see my face just the back of my head. They asked me to an ID parade but I was advised to refuse. Do you have any experience in this? I presume they will need to ID me. Can I be forced? I used my debit card in the pub so I was definitely there....

No, but they can do a covert ID.

Although on the positive side covert IDs are much easier to challenge in court.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I see - they took my suit as evidence as I presume there was blood on it from the man I punched. There certainly wasn't a lot as I didn't notice it. Is this what covert ID's are? I am amazed that the back of my head, witnesses and by card transaction aren't strong enough to charge me? Surely witness would have just been shown a picture of me and agreed I hit the man first?

No, but they might use a still from you in the custody suite a police station to show to the witness.

That is a very unfair ID but if a person refuses all the fairer offers then it is open to them.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Do you think I should agree to being in an ID parade? My solicitor advised me not too. Is taking the suit just extra evidence then? Not to prove I hit him?

Not if your solicitor advised you not to.

I imagine the risk is that you will be identified. You will on a covert ID too but at least it is easier to argue that is not reliable at court.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hopefully last questions.. 1.) Sorry if I'm being a bit dim, but what exactly is a covert ID? Do you know why they would have taken my suit? Just for the blood of the victim? 2.) Does it go in my 'favour' that the other man involved walked towards me as I was doing this jovial and stupid windmill motion with my arm? Or does it mean nothing as I could have just walked away from him?

1 An identification by some other means - probably using a still of you in the custody suite

2 Yes, probably.

3 Not really. At least, it is potentially mitigation but it isn't necessarily a defence.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. Yes I'm clearly guilty but like you say in terms of my charge/sentence they might see that as a reason for reducing the severity of the charge....thanks for your help again. I will just have to hang on for the extra 11 days to find out if I'm charged with a GBH 20 or 18. Have a good week.

No problem.

All the best.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello. Hope your well? I am being re interviewed this evening. I was meant to be charged at 6pm today. Can you give me an indication on why I would be re interviewed? Thanks

No problem.

All the best.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello. Think I missed the reply. Thanks

I can't really say why you would be interviewed again.

Usually it is to put fresh evidence but I wouldn't know what it is obviously.