A soldier who floored a man with a single punch in a Stafford nightclub will keep his job in the Army and deploy to Afghanistan after being given a community sentence.
Adam Lucas, 22, attacked Brandon Williams in an “unprovoked assault” while drinking with squaddies from the 22 Signal Regiment in Casa bar on Bridge Street.
However, after a senior officer, sergeant major Paul Williams, spoke in his defence during a hearing at Cannock Magistrates Court he was spared jail and ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work.
Magistrates handed down the sentence after hearing that Lucas would be likely to lose his job if he was given 100 or more hours of unpaid work and that he will deploy to Helmand Province at the beginning of next year.
However, he is likely to be stripped of his current role working with young people in recruiting as he would no longer pass criminal record checks.
Prosecutor Emma Matthews said trouble flared when Lucas, of Beaconside Barracks, threw a drink over Mr Williams’ girlfriend while he was being led to the door by bouncers at 11pm on December 13.
“She pursued him to challenge him,” Ms Matthews said. “Brandon says he turned around and was given one punch to the eye. The force of the punch knocked him to the floor, his eye was bleeding and an ambulance was called.” Mr Williams’ eye was treated with Steri Strips. Meanwhile, Lucas - who has been in the Army for five years - became “agitated and aggressive” with police outside the club and was arrested initially on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.
He told the court: “Somebody hit me from behind and I obviously lashed out. I was surrounded by six or seven people and I felt threatened.” Sergeant Williams told the court that he will also face discipline from the Army and would “almost definitely” be removed from working with young people and transferred to barracks in Wiltshire.
“The severity will depend on what he gets here,” he said. “He’s honest, punctual and a good role model for the young people.
This is totally out of character.” Lucas was also ordered to pay £150 in compensation and £310 in costs after admitting one count of assault by beating.
Chairman of the bench Barbara Cartwright said Lucas should be able to complete his unpaid work before deploying to Afghanistan.