A man who punched a friend in the face on a birthday night out has had his sentence cut by top judges - who said the attack was a ‘blip’ after he turned over a new leaf.

Luke Tupman landed a single blow on David Every, knocking him to the ground, after celebrating with a group of co-workers.

The pair started arguing after Tupman kicked the door of another friend’s flat, causing nearly £500 of damage.

The 27-year-old, of Green Lane, Ellesmere Port, was handed a 14-month suspended sentence at Chester Crown Court in August last year.

He was also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work and to pay more than £1,200 compensation to Mr Every and £475 to replace the door.

Sentence 'too tough'

But his sentence was reduced to a 12-month community order by judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, who said the original punishment was ‘too tough’.

The court heard Tupman and Mr Every had been out drinking with colleagues and were going back to one of the group’s flat to continue the party.

Tupman arrived before the others and kicked the door to the flat, causing the damage.

When Mr Every arrived, there was a confrontation between the two men in the street outside, which led to Tupman punching his friend once in the face.

Victim was unconscious

Mr Every fell backwards and hit the ground and was unconscious for a few moments. He suffered cuts and bruising to his face and was left with scarring.

Sentencing Tupman, the crown court judge said the incident could have resulted in Mr Every’s death, as there was a risk involved in hitting people who had been drinking heavily.

But Lady Justice Sharp, sitting with Mr Justice William Davis and Judge Sarah Munro QC, said the judge passed an ‘excessive’ sentence on Tupman.

Tupman had ‘changed his life for the better’, after a string of convictions as a youth, and the incident was just a ‘blip’, she said.

Significant efforts

Allowing his appeal, she added: “Although he had previous convictions, they were committed when he was young and a significant amount of time had elapsed since.

“He had made significant efforts to turn away from crime and to change his life for the better.

“The absence of any recent convictions was, in our view, a mitigating feature, as was the fact this was a single blow.

“It is true that single punches to those who are drunk can lead to death and a manslaughter charge, but that was not this case and, in our view, the judge was wrong to factor that into the sentence in this case - as he clearly did.”

The court did not alter the unpaid work and compensation orders, which remain in place.