Sentence cut for man who ruined promising boxer’s career

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A thug who ruined a promising young boxer’s career with a single punch had his prison sentence cut by appeal judges today (Tuesday).

Rhuridgh Blair (24), struck Jordan McBride following a dispute over a taxi in Leven, in Fife, leaving his victim seriously injured.

Blair, of Buckhaven, was jailed for three years after he was convicted at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court of assaulting Mr McBride to his severe injury at North High Street, Leven, on November 15 in 2015 by seizing him by the body, pulling him away from a taxi and punching him.

Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC said the victim was a promising boxer who had just turned professional.

He had not long returned from a regular training session and was phoned and persuaded to join friends who were out in Leven.

The sheriff said Mr McBride had a moderate amount of drink during the evening as he was training for a boxing match.

During the subsequent confrontation Mr McBride became momentarily distracted by another man but as he turned back was suddenly punched on the left side of the face by Blair.

He was later found to have sustained fractures to a cheekbone and eye socket and the sheriff heard he was unable to continue boxing.

Blair challenged the penalty imposed on him and his solicitor advocate Jim Stephenson told the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh that, although it was accepted imprisonment was inevitable, the sentence was excessive.

Lord Turnbull, who heard the appeal with Lady Clark of Calton, said the sheriff had noted the assault had had a significant effect on the victim’s life and future prospects.

The judge said Blair had been guilty of an unprovoked and violent attack on a young man who was momentarily distracted.

But he said Mr Stephenson had pointed out that Blair had subsequently made efforts to put his life in order and had held down full-time employment.

Lord Turnbull said they took into account the constructive efforts made by Blair, who is currently in prison, to obtain work and qualifications and would quash the original sentence and impose two years’ imprisonment.