Jailed thug who helped beat Spalding RFC player unconcious is freed on appeal

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A THUG who rained blows on a rugby player as he lay stricken on the floor has been freed from prison after top judges cut his sentence on appeal.

Ashley Craig Snart (28) joined in an attack which left Jonathan Charlton unconscious outside The Loft club, in Bourne.

Snart was jailed for 12 months at Lincoln Crown Court in March after he admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm. But he was released after two senior judges at London’s Court of Appeal cut his “manifestly excessive” sentence to eight months.

Mr Justice Griffith Williams, sitting with Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart, told the court a friend of Snart’s knocked Spalding RFC player Mr Charlton to the ground after a row in The Loft club in 2010.

Snart, of Oundle Road, Peterborough, then joined in the attack, in which Mr Charlton was knocked unconcious as his head “bounced from the pavement like a ball”, the judge said.

Luckily, police were on hand to stop the attack and heard Snart say “Ok, I’m done” as he was hit twice with a baton, the court heard.

Despite missing half a season of rugby and looking “a mess” after the attack, Mr Charlton was fortunate to escape without long-term injury, the judge said.

On Friday, Snart’s lawyers argued that he should have got a lesser sentence because the attack did not have serious consequences and he had not been in trouble before.

Mr Justice Griffith Williams said: “We are persuaded by the strength of the personal mitigation and the assessment of the probation officer that the appellant represented a low risk of re-conviction.

“He was entitled to credit for his lack of previous convictions and the appropriate sentence was one of eight months.”

Having already served half of his new sentence, Snart is entitled to immediate release on licence.