A MAN has avoided an immediate jail sentence after waiting nearly four years for his day in court for a “disgraceful” assault in Bournemouth town centre.

Alexandru Zota, 28, a Romanian national residing in Fleet, pleaded guilty for assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he and two others drunkenly attacked Adrian Damianov on May 29, 2017.

Zota appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court for sentencing. His two co-defendants, Andrei Ciobotaru and Vasilica Chirca, were charged but are currently in Romania.

Bournemouth Echo: Alexandru Zota was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Monday

Prosecuting, Stuart Ellacott said: “The incident occurred just after 6 o’ clock in the morning. They had just left Walkabout and were walking up Old Christchurch Road to Bournemouth town centre.”

One man was assaulted, for which Zota was given a conditional discharge at Poole Magistrates’ Court, when they came across Mr Damianov.

Footage in court showed the three defendants approach the victim and start punching and kicking him in the head.

Mr Damianov got on his knees when the attack continued. A few minutes later, the victim could be seen stumbling down Old Christchurch Road when one of the defendants approached him to fist bump him.

At this point, Zota, who had been hiding behind a pillar, came out and attacked Mr Damianov again, kicking him in the head

The victim was left in a heap on the floor with injuries including lacerations to the face.

Zota was arrested in June 2017 and admitted his role in the attack.

Mitigating, Timothy Compton told the court Zota had “grown up somewhat” since the attack, had to leave work to take care of his partner and five children, one of which was born three weeks before the sentencing.

Mr Compton said: “There is a lack of premeditation and everybody was drunk as a skunk”

He also told the court the authorities had not “covered themselves in glory” with the delay in proceedings and the charges were only brought up when Zota applied for settlement in the UK.

Judge Jonathan Fuller QC told Zota if he had been dealt with in a timely manner he would have gone to prison for the “disgraceful attack”.

“It was a disgraceful attack, you decided that this lone male would be your target,” he said.

“He was extremely vulnerable, not least because you could see he was struggling around because he was intoxicated.

“He was knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly. One bit that sticks out was when he was on his knees and was quite clearly no threat to you.”

Zota was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work.

“This was a disgraceful attack, you should be ashamed of yourself,” Judge Fuller added.

Dorset Police said the delay in proceedings was due to Zota leaving the country.

A spokesperson said: “Officers compiled detailed evidence and following liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service, charges against the defendant were initially approved in November 2017.

“However, information was received that the defendant was believed to have left the country.

“It was reported in October 2018 that he had returned to the country, however, an address could not be confirmed for a summons to be served.

“Following enquiries and further liaison with the CPS, an address for the defendant was established in the Hampshire area and a postal requisition was issued in November 2020.”

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