A TRAINEE solicitor who punched a man on a night out ‘decking’ him and causing a bleed on the brain has been spared an immediate prison sentence.

Naumaan Bhatti was working as a paralegal when he knocked the man backwards into a wall outside McDonald’s in Briggate, Leeds, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Bhatti, 22, of Cottingley Drive, Bingley, had jeopardised a promising legal career with the single blow delivered in the early hours of September 3 last year, his barrister Chloe Hudson said.

He pleaded guilty to unlawfully wounding the man after an exchange of words.

Prosecutor Caroline Abraham told the court that Bhatti was out with friends and family when the assault took place.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service treated the injured man who had a laceration to the back of his head and swelling to his lip. He was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where a CT scan revealed a bleed on the brain.

He was discharged from hospital two days later but reported sustaining a scar to the back of his head, a bloodshot eye and memory loss. He was now stressed, paranoid and worried about going out.

Chloe Hudson said in mitigation that it was ‘a moment of madness’ in which her client had lost a good deal.

It was an isolated incident by a man of previous good character with an excellent academic record.

“He looks back in horror at what he has done,” Miss Hudson said.

Bhatti had since been moved from his job as a paralegal to an administrative role.

Recorder Simon Jackson KC said Bhatti had a verbal altercation with the man who he accused of using ‘racial slurs’ towards him. He punched him once in the heat of the moment and now regretted it.

A male in Bhatti’s group intervened to pull him back but he went for him again. A security officer then tried to prevent him from pursuing his grievance but he was unsuccessful.

The victim was slapped by someone else and then Bhatti punched him. He was ‘decked’ and fell heavily suffering a bleed on the brain.

There was no evidence of continuing physical damage but he had suffered stress and anxiety.

Recorder Jackson said the Bradford solicitor who employed Bhatti could not see him ever troubling the courts again.

The judge accepted that Bhatti understood that he had been racially abused that night and he stated that the offence was totally out of character.

Bhatti was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with up to 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 200 hours of unpaid work. He must obey a four-month electronically monitored curfew order.

He was also ordered to pay £1,500 compensation to his victim and £425 prosecution costs.

 “The consequences of what you did will live with you through your professional career, whatever that may be,” Recorder Jackson said.