Middleton man James Harlow fractured another man’s eye socket in New Year’s Eve assault in Stroud, Gloucestershire
A 27-year-old man who fractured another man’s eye socket in a bar on New Year’s Eve 2021 has been ordered to pay £2,500 in compensation as part of an 18-month community order imposed on him at Gloucester Crown Court on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Syed Ahmed told the court that James Harlow, formerly of Gloucestershire but now of Tower Lane, Middleton, was drinking in the Curio Lounge, Stroud, on December 31 2021 when he assaulted Callum Venn.
“It was around 8.30pm when Harlow punched Mr Venn to the face," said the barrister.
"There had been a brief interaction between the two men before the incident occurred. The single punch that followed was unprovoked, Harlow using his clenched left fist with full force."
The court heard that Mr Venn was taken to hospital where he had to undergo surgery for three fractures to his face and a broken eye socket. Metal plates had to be fixed in his face to aid recovery.
Harlow was subsequently identified and arrested by police and during the interview he admitted wounding Mr Venn. In August of this year he pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court.
Judge Ian Lawrie KC asked the prosecutor why the case had taken so long to get to court despite the fact that Harlow admitted his offending at the police station during his interview. The barrister could not give an answer.
In a victim statement Mr Venn said he now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and his mental state has been affected as he can no longer hold down a full-time job.
Harlow, who was not legally represented, told the judge that since the incident he had taken steps to rehabilitate himself and had sought therapy for his mental health and alcohol issues having fallen into a life that revolved around drugs and alcohol since the age of 11.
Harlow added: “I admit I was drunk and disorderly that night but since this incident I have taken steps to turn my life around. I still need professional help.
"Having had this sentence hanging over me for almost two years, it has been mentally difficult. I moved away from Gloucestershire about a week after the incident.
“I was drunk that night, there is no excuse. My heart went out to Mr Venn when I read his victim impact statement. I now fully understand the impact my actions have had on him.”
Harlow pleaded guilty to unlawfully wounding Mr Venn in Stroud on December 31, 2021.
Judge Lawrie told Harlow: “I accept this was a one-off incident and you’ve not been in trouble since. You have sought therapy for your various issues which demonstrates that you are suitable for rehabilitation and therefore qualify for an 18-month community order.
“You’ve had a very long wait with this case hanging over you for almost two years, despite admitting your guilt following your arrest. This is your past catching up with you. I am ordering that you pay £2,500 compensation to Mr Venn, which is better than being sent to prison.”
The judge instructed that as part of the community order, Harlow must attend 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days and undertake a six-month alcohol treatment requirement.