Man sentenced for punching girlfriend

A VIOLENT Ipswich man who punched his girlfriend before taking her car so that he could see another woman has narrowly avoided jail.Simon Jocelyn hit girlfriend Debra Ballantine in the face after she refused to give him her car.

A VIOLENT Ipswich man who punched his girlfriend before taking her car so that he could see another woman has narrowly avoided jail.

Simon Jocelyn hit girlfriend Debra Ballantine in the face after she refused to give him her car.

Jocelyn of Willoughby Road, was found guilty of assault by beating and taking Ballantine's car without her consent at a trial last month and faced sentencing for a total of six charges.

The 33-year-old had previously admitted driving the car while over the legal alcohol limit, driving whilst disqualified and having no insurance or MOT.

Instead of a custodial sentence, South East Suffolk magistrates opted to put him under a night time curfew, which will see him electronically tagged, and ban him from driving for 12 months.

At the sentencing on Monday, magistrate Nick Ridley highlighted Jocelyn's poor criminal record, which totals 39 previous offences spanning 18 years, when imposing the penalties.

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He said: "We have decided that we will not send you to prison on this occasion.

"These sentences we are giving you are in substitute for that. Should you breach that you are likely to go down."

Jocelyn punched Ballantine in the early hours of August 19 last year after returning to her home following a night out together drinking.

Throughout his trial he had insisted Ballantine gave him permission to take the car and said he intended to drive to buy condoms because she had asked him to stay the night.

But Ballantine had heard another woman call Jocelyn on his mobile and, after he took the car, called police.

When stopped by officers Jocelyn was found to have 42 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

Representing Jocelyn, Graham Skippen said: "This was rather an offence of borrowing without consent, he actually drove it and was coming back when he was arrested."

For assaulting Miss Ballantine, Jocelyn was put under the curfew, which will keep him indoors between 7pm and 7am each day.

For driving while disqualified and driving while over the legal alcohol limit, he was given a 60-hour community rehabilitation order, in addition to 17.5 hours still to be completed on a previous order.

The magistrates also imposed the 12-month driving ban.

They opted not to impose separate penalties for taking the vehicle without consent, having no insurance and no MOT.

But they fined him £10 for a breach of bail offence for not attending court on a previous date, ordered him to pay Miss Ballantine £75 personal injury compensation and £150 costs.

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