Former Castleford Tigers forward Brandon Westerman has escaped prison after breaking a victim’s eye socket following a scuffle in a pub.
The 24-year-old punched a man after his brother was involved in a violent altercation on September 1, 2018.
The victim had initially approached Westerman because he knew he was a former Castleford player and wanted to have a conversation with him about rugby.
Things quickly turned sour, however, when Westerman’s brother was seen fighting with Westerman himself getting involved.
The ex-York City Knights forward turned and hit the man walking past who had his hands up to demonstrate he was not involved, according to the Wakefield Express.
A broken cheekbone was suffered which required surgery, but Westerman claimed, upon arrest, that he could not remember being involved in a fight.
He was initially charged with two counts of malicious wounding, first on the man with whom is brother had been fighting with, then the victim who suffered the broken cheek.
Westerman’s lawyer Gareth Henderson-Moore said he had not touched a drop of alcohol since that incident.
He said: “He was out with his brother and sister and is very protective of his family.
“He was concerned for his brother during the course of the scuffle that broke out.
“He accepts whole-heartedly that the victim was effectively a peace maker.
“It was a spontaneous act, there was no premeditation.
“He expresses genuine remorse and is very sorry for the injuries caused. He would welcome the opportunity to apologise in person or in writing.”
Judge Neil Clark told Westerman: “He (the victim) was interested in Rugby League and spoke quite amicably with you.
“For no real reason that could be justified, you got involved.
“He had his hands up, but because you were lashing out at anybody, you caused him a serious injury because he happened to be standing near you.”
Because he has no previous convictions, Judge Clark handed Westerman a 12-month jail term, suspended for 18 months.
Westerman was handed the number 31 shirt by the Tigers ahead of the 2017 Super League season, but left a week later.