A construction manager who left a nightclubber with potentially life-changing injuries has walked free from court.
Colin Holmes pushed over David Grant at The Plantations bar and grill, in Ashton, causing the victim to fall and hit his head, Bolton Crown Court was told.
Doctors say the fall and subsequent head injuries had caused Mr Grant “permament residual damage to his higher cognitive functions”, the court heard.
Prosecutors say conflicting statements were given by eyewitnesses over the incident, after a confrontation between two parties at the Wigan Road venue.
Holmes insisted, in his defence, that he had lashed out, fearing he was going to be attacked and had not intended to cause such serious injuries.
Judge Richard Gioserano said it was accepted the defendant was not the aggressor and it did not ultimately matter whether he had pushed or punched Mr Grant.
“It may not be possible for Richard Grant and his family to ever leave behind what has happened here,” said the judge.
Mr Grant was close by but there was no indication he was going to become involved in the matter, added the judge.
Prosecutor Geoff Whelan said there had been a dispute between Holmes and a woman called Julie Holmes, over spilt drinks, which had escalated, in the early hours.
Other men became involved and Holmes is said to have feared he was going to be assaulted by them.
CCTV caught some of the confrontation, which saw Holmes lash out with one hand and push Mr Grant with the other, the court heard.
Holmes, 36, of Benjamin Fold, Ashton, who admitted to causing grievous bodily harm, was given a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours community service, pay £670 costs and observe a four-month curfew.
Steven Swift, defending, said his client, “a hard-working family man”, was geniuinely remorseful for the injuries he had caused.