FORMER Giants star Martin Aspinwall broke a friend’s jaw in a pub fight.
A court heard how he dislocated his own shoulder in the fracas and could not play for six months.
Now Aspinwall, who twice punched a friend in the face during a drunken argument, has been given a suspended jail term.
Aspinwall, 29, now plays for Castleford Tigers and made his debut in the side’s victory over his former club on Saturday.
Trouble flared between Aspinwall, who played for Great Britain in 2006, and his victim, Robert Jackson in the Walkabout Bar in Wigan after a row about Aspinwall’s agent.
Aspinwall, then playing for the Giants, was critical of his agent, by whose software company Mr Jackson was employed.
The two men, who had been friends since their childhood rugby days, had had an amicable conversation at the bar earlier that night, July 17 last year, but half an hour later when they again met at the bar Aspinwall “appeared to be aggressive” towards him, said Peter Barr, prosecuting.
“He began to criticise the agent. Mr Jackson tried to defend his employer.
“Mr Jackson pointed out, ‘Common sense tells me that if you are playing well clubs will be lining up to contract you and obviously if playing crap you have to look to yourself.’
“As a result of that exchange Aspinwall stood back and punched him very firmly to the face twice”, said Mr Barr.
Mr Jackson suffered a fractured left jaw.
When Aspinwall, 29, of Stirling Avenue, Ince, Wigan, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm at an early court hearing.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Aspinwall was taking prescribed medication for anxiety.
Imposing an eight-month jail sentence suspended for two years Judge Robert Warnock said: “This was a drunken incident when you should not have been drinking alcohol. You seriously injured a friend.
“Fortunately and purely by luck the injury has not produced long term disability. I am told this matter is based on anxiety. I am anxious that the public are protected from you in the context of this sort of violence.”
The court heard that he has no previous convictions but has two police cautions for assault.
The judge also ordered Aspinwall to carry out 275 hours unpaid work, saying that he was sure the probation service would put his skills to good use. Additionally he ordered him to pay his victim £1,500 compensation and £250 towards prosecution costs.