Finger biter escapes jail after guilty plea
(CNS): A woman who bit off the end of her friend’s small finger during a drunken fight was handed a 12 month suspended sentence for one year and ordered to pay over $1,200 in medical costs. in court Tuesday, KerryAnn Jackson admitted biting off the top of the victim’s little finger and pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding but denied the original charge of wounding with the intent to do grievous bodily harm as she said she had never intended to harm anyone. Jackson said the injury was a result of carelessness in a fight. The altercation occurred, the court heard, after Jackson’s friend tried to prevent her from driving home while drunk.
Jackson caused the injury when she fought with the victim following a night out drinking at a club with her friends. One of the women had sought to dissuade Jackson not to drive home but the defendant, who was said to be inebriated, insisted. As the complainant took the keys from her friend and tried to reason with her not to drive, the words became heated and eventually turned into a physical fight. At some point in the fight the victim felt a stinging sensation and looked to see the top of her smallest finger was missing down to the joint. The court heard that Jackson, wearing a contorted expression on her face, then spat the piece of her friend’s finger on the ground.
The victim was rushed to hospital where the skin and the remaining finger was grafted but the top could not be saved. Although the injury was said to have healed, the joint is missing.
When handing down the sentence Justice Carol Beswick said that Jackson was of previous good character and the injury was caused by a single bite and not a sustained attack. As a result of her actions, the judge said, the defendant had also already suffered as she has lost her friendship with the victim and others involved who had all been very close, she has acquired a criminal record preventing her from travelling, in particular to the US, and although employed at a local bank the conviction has reduced her employment opportunities.
The judge noted, however, that she had to consider the position of the victim and her pain and suffering. She ordered that Jackson pay her former friends medical costs of $1205.09 and place the defendant on a curfew during the period of the suspended sentence on Friday, Saturday and Sundays between 9pm and 6am. She also barred Jackson from drinking in a public place throughout the twelve months.
In accordance with the sentencing guidelines, the circumstances of the offence and local precedents, the judge said the starting point after a trial would have been a suspended sentence of 18 months for two years but discounted the periods to 12 months after Jackson’s plea.
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