South Shields man spared jail as child needed operation after being hit in the face by a coin
A man who caused serious injury to a toddler when he threw a coin has avoided jail.
South Shields man Richard Snaith picked up a two pence coin and threw it at a woman he was arguing with but it hit the child instead.
Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court that Snaith accepted he threw the coin with ‘quite a bit of force’ but he did not deliberately hurt the child.
He said: "(The coin) struck the child just below her right eye. The injury was sufficient that it caused a laceration below the eye that is about one centimetre in length.
"As soon as the extent of the injury was noticed by the defendant he became immediately upset, he was apologetic for his actions."
The court heard that how the 27-year-old was cautioned and arrested and in response he asked: "Is she alright?"
Mr Perks added: "He accepted that he had thrown the coin. He accepted that he had thrown it with quite a bit of force.
"Whilst this was a horrible incident it is recognised as reckless and not deliberate."
The toddler was taken to hospital and had to undergo an operation as a result of the injury.
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The court heard how the medical staff gave reassurances that "although the injury looked serious it would not hopefully leave any long lasting injury or scar."
Graeme Cook, defending, said: "It is an isolated incident."
He added that Snaith had shown: "Clear and immediate remorse and that has continued thorough in his detention."
Mr Cook said at the time of the incident Snaith was unemployed and homeless but had since got himself a job.
The judge, Mr Recorder John Aitken said it was an "unintended but very nasty" incident.
He addressed Snaith and said: "You have shown immediate remorse, you are of good character and you pleaded guilty."
Mr Recorder Aitken sentenced Snaith, of Drake Close, South Shields to a 12-month community order with rehabilitation requirements.