A MAN has narrowly avoided being sent to prison for a Section 47 assault after magistrates ruled an immediate custodial sentence would have a ‘significant impact upon two dependent children’.

Steven James May, 41, was found guilty after trial on May 4 for assaulting a person thereby occasioning them actual bodily harm and criminal damage to property under £5,000 after damaging, without lawful excuse, a door to an unknown value.

Court documents show both offences took place on December 22 last year in Kirkby Stephen relating to the same complainant.

At South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court three days later, magistrates sentenced the defendant, of Broad Ing, Kendal, to a 26-week prison sentence suspended for 24 months.

They concluded when sentencing the defendant on May 7 that the offences were so serious that only a custodial sentence could be justified.

However, they were able to step back and suspend the sentence due to custody having a ‘significant impact upon two dependent children, one of whom is disabled’.

Magistrates also considered the defendant was of good character having no previous convictions on his criminal record.

As part of the suspended sentence order, the defendant was ordered to complete 30 days of an accredited DV perpetrator programme and 15 RAR days.

He was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the complainant.

Finally, he was made the subject of a two-year restraining order preventing him from contacting the complainant directly or indirectly, save via a solicitor, children’s service or by order of the family court for the purpose of arranging child contact.

No order to obtain money for court costs or surcharge was made.