Two men avoid jail 
after violent attack on group of sailors

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TWO friends have avoided jail after assaulting sailors from a navy base, a court heard.

Liam Yates and Jack Sweeney went to watch a boxing match on May 31 last year at Go Bowling in Newgate Lane, Fareham.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Yates had tried to leave the venue with alcohol and had a scuffle with a female door supervisor.

Prosecutor Colin Banham said three sailors from HMS Collingwood in Fareham later intervened as Yates headed back towards the venue as they thought the 20-year-old was from the base and did not want him to get into trouble.

Yates swore at one of the victims, there was a scuffle and one of the victims was wrestled to the ground.

Recorder Rufus Taylor said: ‘You, Jack Sweeney, came out and kicked him in the face then with [another victim] both on the ground receiving kicks to the head.’

At one point one of the three victims got up and said he had enough but was floored again.

One of the sailors suffered a black eye, broken front tooth and had bruising and swelling to the side and chest.

The two others suffered bruising and swelling.

Mr Banham added a witness described one of the victim’s heads being ‘kicked like a football’ during the brawl

Both Yates, of Chale Close, Gosport, and Sweeney, 19, pleaded guilty to affray on a basis accepted by the prosection.

Yates said he did not kick and Sweeney, of Gilbert Close, Gosport, said he kicked once and punched once.

Recorder Taylor added: ‘This was pretty horrible violence fuelled by drink.

‘You both need to understand if you kick someone on the ground your expectation is immediate custody.’

Recorder Rufus Taylor briefly adjourned the sentencing part-way through the hearing and remanded the pair in the cells.

He added: ‘I remanded you in custody so you could both have a little look what it’s like.’

Mr Banham said: ‘It’s quite clear that Yates and Sweeney had been drinking quite a lot of alcohol before they got into the venue.’

Yates and Sweeney were both handed nine-month prison sentences suspended for a year. Yates must do 200 hours unpaid work and Sweeney 150 hours’ unpaid work and 12 months of supervision.

Sweeney must also pay £600 compensation to the man he kicked, while Yates must pay £600 costs.

Both must pay a £100 victim surcharge.