A JUDGE has accused British Ice Hockey of operating in a 'legal vacuum' after a player tried to claim it was part and parcel of the game to break an opponent's jaw during a brawl.

Bradford Bulldogs player Macauley Stones today (November 7) pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm over the attack on a rival player during a match on September 19, 2015 after it was ruled his defence had no basis in law.

During the match there were a number of scuffles between forward Stones, then 19, and Nottingham Lions forward Reece Glossop which led to the pair of them being sent to the 'sin bin' to serve time penalties, Bradford Crown Court heard.

While in the 'sin bin', the defendant exchanged heated words with the complainant and when the players returned to the ice another fight broke out.

The court was told that hairdresser Stones, of Wesley Avenue, Low Moor, Bradford, hit Glossop across the face between three and five times, fracturing his jaw which led to him needing plates inserted.

The court also heard that Glossop has not played hockey since the fight as a result of his injuries and continues to suffer anxiety as a result of the attack.

Michael Smith, prosecuting, told the court: "The video of the game shows that Reece Glossop grabbed the defendant and pushed his head to the ice.

"He held him there with his hands and the defendant was forced to his knees.

"There was a tussle in that position and the defendant's sports top was pulled off by the complainant.

"As other players got involved, punches were thrown although it's not clear that any connected.

"The defendant skated away but as he saw the fight developing he turned and went back to the group.

"He made a beeline to the complainant, grabbed hold of him and struck him to the face.

"There were between three to five blows while the complainant was on his knees on the ice."

The court heard Stones, now 21, was sent from the ice for his behaviour, but no further action was taken by British Ice Hockey.

After the game Glossop was diagnosed with fractures to his jaw, which needed plates, and an injury to his shoulder.

The court heard that in an interview after his arrest Stones told police he saw Glossop was a physical threat to him and that "this is what happens in ice hockey".

Mr Smith said: "He believed he was participating in the game in a way that he thought was acceptable.

"There is no doubt that although fighting is not part of the rules of ice hockey, it is part of the culture."

Sentencing Stones to nine months suspended for two years, Judge Colin Burn said: "You pleaded guilty as the result of a defence that you were putting forward in good faith not being available as a matter of law.

"This is an unusual case because the sport you were playing at the time appears, as far as I can make out, to have been operating in some kind of vacuum as far as the criminal law for England and Wales is concerned.

"However I'm not here to pull down on to you all of the sins of British Ice Hockey.

"I have to reflect the seriousness of what you did but also take into account that you were doing something that is often done in the sport."

Stones will not have to pay any criminal compensation or costs because of his financial situation, but he will have to pay a victim surcharge which he was told would be around £100.

In mitigation, Andrew Semple had told the court that Stones did not glorify violence.

Mr Semple said: "There is no suggestion that outside the confines of the culture of Ice Hockey he has acted violently before or since the incident."

The court heard from Mr Semple that father-of-one Stones had been a hairdresser since leaving school at the age of 16 and runs his own hairdressing business.

Mr Semple said: "He owns the business with a non-working partner to whom he owes £7,500.

"As a start-up business he is putting in long hours for modest pay to build the business up and further to pay back his partner.

"He is clearly a hard-working individual who is of benefit to society."

Bradford Bulldogs play in the English Ice Hockey Association, NIHL North Two.

The Telegraph & Argus approached British Ice Hockey for a comment.