A DRINKER who hit another man with a bottle in a Darlington pub has walked free from court.

Salesman Gary Fee, 32, of The Bakers, Darlington, hit the man after he was pushed by the victim in Harvey’s bar in the town on February 8.

The victim suffered a 3cm to 4cm gash on his forehead.

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Teesside Crown Court heard how the two men knew each other after both working at the Orange call centre in Darlington, but the scuffle broke out after the complainant said he had “never liked” the defendant.

Ian West, mitigating, said his client had been in trouble as a teenager but had since turned his life around and had a full-time job.

“He didn’t go looking for trouble that night – it just happened,” the lawyer added.

Fee, who wore a suit to court, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the start of the hearing on Wednesday.

Sentencing him to ten months in prison, suspended for a year, Judge Howard Crowson said he believed the defendant had been provoked.

He added: “It was not trouble that you sought.

“It seems clear that having been introduced to this man it was him who pushed you away.”

Fee was ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work and pay £535 in costs.