A BIRKBY man has avoided jail after he punched a work colleague.

Kevin Lawrence was found guilty following a trial at Bradford Crown Court last month of unlawfully wounding Peter Smith during an incident back in November 2009.

During the attack, Lawrence’s punch fractured his victim’s jaw.

The 36-year-old, of Blacker Road, was told by the judge during yesterday’s sentencing hearing that the remorse he showed had led to him being given a suspended prison sentence.

Recorder Paul Isaacs told Lawrence that it was a great pity he had not admitted his guilt at the first opportunity.

It had put the prosecution witnesses, particularly the victim Mr Smith, through the ordeal of giving evidence before the court.

The judge said Mr Smith’s evidence had been impressive, but he accepted that Lawrence had been subject to abusive remarks from another man at the time of the offence.

Recorder Isaacs said Lawrence had struck out once in a momentary loss of temper, but the consequences had been serious with Mr Smith needing surgery on his fractured jaw.

“I accept that you are remorseful for the injury caused,” added the judge.

Recorder Isaacs said the offence crossed the custody threshold, but after taking account of Lawrence’s background and the circumstances he had decided to suspend the 36-week prison term for 18 months.

“I hope you get a job and I hope you’re back on your feet, but please for your own sake now when this sort of thing happens in future keep that temper in check,” said the judge.

As part of the suspended sentence order Lawrence will have to do 100 hours unpaid work for the community.