Thug who inflicted brain damage on man during Christmas street fight avoids jail "by a whisker"
A thug who inflicted a serious brain injury to an opponent during a Boxing Day street fight in Castleford has avoided jail "by a whisker".
Levi Cutting, 27, knocked the victim unconscious and left him bleeding on the pavement following the brawl on Leeds Road.
It was caught on CCTV and showed both men scrapping on the road after removing their T-shirts.
Cutting was told by the judge at Leeds Crown Court that he narrowly avoided being locked up because there was an "element of provocation" and that his partner was pregnant with their child.
Prosecuting the case, Helena Williams, said Cutting had been at a party at the Cutsyke Sports and Social Club that evening, December 26, 2019, when his uncle told him he had just got into a disagreement with a group of men at the property.
Cutting then left the club and went to the house where he was heard shouting: "Who is bullying who?"
After entering the property, Cutting tussled with the victim before telling him "let's sort it outside", which the victim agreed on.
They both removed their T-shirts and squared up to each other outside the terraced property, with the victim seen throwing the first punch.
It appeared to be resolved minutes later with the men shaking hands, but Cutting is then seen charging at another man - who was with the victim - and throwing him to the floor.
Cutting and the victim then begin fighting again before Cutting delivers the final blow to the victim's head.
He is seen slumping to the ground and hitting his head on the ground.
Two neighbours came to his aid. He was rushed to hospital where a CT scan showed he a traumatic brain injury and was taken to critical care.
Surgeons had to operate to ease the swelling on his brain and save the man's life.
He eventually left hospital in January 2020, but continues to suffer seizures and headaches, is deaf in his left ear and his short-term memory loss has been affected.
He is also been left unsteady on his feet.
Cutting, of Chiltern Avenue, Castleford, denied a charge of unlawful wounding and was listed to stand trial.
However, he later pleaded guilty to a charge of affray, which was accepted by the Crown.
The court was told that Cutting has nine previous convictions for 17 offences, including battery.
Mitigating, Richard Canning, said he did not seek to minimise the injury inflicted, but said: "In reality, they are both guilty of affray.
"The two of them were fighting, the victim struck the first blow.
"It's not the same as somebody who was minding their own business."
Recorder Ashley Serr gave Cutting a 14-month jail term, suspended for 24 months.
He was also to take part in a rehabilitation programme and handed him 100 hours of unpaid work.
He told him: "Make no mistake, you have avoided prison by a whisker. You actions have probably changed a man's life forever."