A MAN who hit a bailiff with a cricket bat, then challenged his sentence for it, has been given a suspended jail term.

Richard Burton, 35, attacked debt collector David Knight when he went to his house in Phipps Road, Oxford, on March 5 last year.

He was convicted of assault by beating at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on October 14 and was given a 12-month conditional discharge.

He was also told to pay £100 compensation, a £15 victim surcharge and £200 costs.

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But Burton appealed against his sentence at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday.

Judge Zoe Smith said Burton went into the kitchen and first picked up a knife, then put it down and picked up a cricket bat instead.

He raised it above his head and brought it down, hitting Mr Knight’s left hand, causing bruising and swelling.

Dismissing the appeal, Judge Smith warned Burton that bailiffs played an essential role in the criminal justice system.

She said: “People employed to carry out the duties of bailiff must have the protection of the courts and it is only right people who harm them should expect imprisonment.

“The job this gentleman was undertaking was essential.”

She gave Burton a three-month prison sentence but suspended it for 12 months saying: “We were impressed by the character witness you put before us.”

Burton was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and pay Mr Knight £150 compensation and the Crown Prosecution Service’s full costs of £526.

Judge Smith warned him: “If you do not undertake this unpaid work to the best of your abilities, you will have to serve the prison sentence.”

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