Councillor's son gets suspended jail term for violent attack

Stourbridge News: James Harley, who has avoided jail for attacking a man in Kingswinford James Harley, who has avoided jail for attacking a man in Kingswinford

A LEADING Conservative councillor's son has been given a suspended jail sentence for a violent attack in Kingswinford.

James Harley left 41-year-old Luke Stone with a chipped front tooth when he kicked him in the face, he also suffered bruising to his neck and back when he was knocked to the floor.

Mr Stone had been shopping at Costcutter in Market Street when he got involved in a confrontation with Harley, who was out celebrating his 21st birthday.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court, Harley admitted assaulting Mr Stone causing him actual bodily harm and theft, he was given an eight month jail term suspended for two years.

Harley's father, Kingswinford South councillor Patrick Harley, said: "I have no sympathy, he is an adult now, not a child, and old enough to face the consequences. I hope he will learn from it."

The court was told there was an exchange of words and Harley punched the "vulnerable" Mr Stone hard knocking him over before kicking him in the face as he lay helpless on the floor of the shop.

Howard Searle, prosecuting, said Harley, of Hazel Road, Kingswinford, then left the scene with two bags of shopping belonging to Mr Stone.

In a victim impact statement Mr Stone told police the incident had left him "slightly paranoid," anxious about venturing out and worried he might run into Harley again in the future.

After his arrest Harley, whose mother Denise was also a Dudley Councillor before losing her seat, told police he was drunk at the time, he remembered the argument and struck out because he felt he was going to be attacked by Mr Stone.

Stephen Hamblett, for Harley, said his client did not normally drink because it had a "detrimental effect on his anger" and stressed he reacted because he thought there was going to be a fight.

He accepts he has an issue with regards to his temper, said Mr Hamblett, who told the court Harley had now joined a gym and taken up boxing to try and rid himself of the problem.

Recorder John Aucott told Harley: "This was not entirely a happy birthday" as he warned him people who punched and kicked others during arguments normally went straight to prison.

He added: "I can just see a glimmer of hope, I don't think you are a bad man. But it is clear you do have problems relating to your anger and alcohol."

Harley was further placed on supervision for 18 months, ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work in the community and to pay Mr Stone £500 compensation.

Mr Searle said Harley, who works for a Dudley engineering firm, had previous convictions for assault causing actual bodily harm after an incident in which the victim sustained a broken nose and for using threatening words and behaviour.

He said he had also been cautioned by police for another assault, he had also received a reprimand for an offence of battery and been charged with being drunk and disorderly.

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