He served his country on the frontline in Afghanistan.
But former soldier Dane Robert Smith has now has been ordered to pay £3,000 compensation to a man whose jaw he broke in two places.
Leeds Crown Court heard Smith was at the George in Cleckheaton in the early hours of February 1 when without warning he lunged at Andrew Johnson.
Simon Reevell prosecuting said he grabbed hold of Mr Johnson’s head and punched him twice to the left side of his face.
Having then grabbed hold of his shirt he dragged him around until members of the public intervened.
Mr Johnson was taken to Pinderfields Hospital where his jaw was found to be broken into two places and he had surgery to insert plates to his face. He was not able to chew food for four to six weeks and had to take time of his self employed work because the pain killers also made him drowsy.
Ashok Khullar representing Smith said it was no excuse for his “appalling behaviour” but he had been assaulted about half an hour earlier suffering a black eye. He now accepted Mr Johnson was not involved in that but had reacted to the erroneous belief he or someone connected to him was.
He said Smith had served his country spending five years in the Army and the behaviour was out of character for him. He now worked as an HGV driver and if allowed to remain at liberty was in a position to pay his victim compensation.
He had no intention to cause him such a serious injury but Recorder Paul Isaac said a man interested in weights and fitness should realise the risk of punching someone and could hardly be surprised at the result.
He told Smith, 26 of Bright Street, Mirfield, who admitted causing grievous bodily harm, that he had thought hard about whether to jail him immediately.
“You went out and behaved in a way which is difficult for me to understand how and why it happened.”
But having in mind Smith’s service in the Signal Corps including in Helmand Province, his job and ability to pay compensation he could step back from immediate imprisonment.
Smith was given a 12 month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, with a three month curfew from 7pm to 7am, 160 hours unpaid work and compensation of £3,000.