A MAN who punched someone, breaking their eye socket, walked free from court – despite receiving a 10-month jail sentence.

Stephen Smart, of High Street, Winsford, was jailed for 10 months, of which he must serve half, on Friday (March 15) after admitting to assault thereby occasioning actual bodily harm.

As the 53-year-old has been held in custody since June 2023, he is now due to be released.

Prosecuting, Frances Wilmot explained that late on the night of June 19, 2023, Smart and two others had gone to the victim’s address in Elton.

There they spent a few hours socialising and smoking cannabis.

However, an argument broke out between Smart and the victim, which Ms Wilmot says “matters little” what it was about.

During the course of the argument, Smart punched the victim in the face.

The victim suffered a broken eye socket and later told police he had suffered from blurred vision and headaches in the weeks following, while also having  “difficulties” staying at his home where he was attacked.

Cheshire Police were called the following morning (June 20, 2023) about a separate incident between Smart and his stepdaughter, for which he was eventually handed a fine and restraining order.

During the sentencing hearing on Friday (March 15) at Chester Crown Court, Edmund Potts, defending, said Smart had already spent a “sufficient” amount of time in custody, having been held since around June 22, 2023.

He also noted that his client gave a prompt guilty plea during the trial, during which the charges were amended.

Judge Phil Lamb acknowledged this, adding the circumstances of the case were “unusual”.

“He effectively gave a guilty plea at the first opportunity”, Mr Lamb said.

He continued, describing Smart’s criminal history as “poor”, having been convicted 27 times in connection with 87 offences.

However, save the incident involving his stepdaughter, these were not violent offences.

With this in mind, Judge Lamb sentenced Smart to 10 months of which he must serve half before being released on licence.

He also issued a restraining order banning Lamb from going to Elton or from having any form of contact with the victim for five years.