A YOUNG man earned a reprieve yesterday after a brief taste of custody.

Darren King, 22, was taken to the cells at Durham Crown Court after receiving a nine- month prison sentence for a wounding offence.

But after discussion in chambers between legal representatives and Judge David Wood, King was recalled to the dock two hours later.

Judge Wood said that he had not taken full consideration of all the factors surrounding the victim's injuries. He amended the sentence to 200 hours' community service, with £950 costs, allowing King to walk free.

King, of The Dell, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, admitted a charge of wounding, in an incident early last New Year's Day, at his father's town centre wine bar premises, Lennon's.

Stephen Duffield, prosecuting, said that, following an altercation with his girlfriend and another man, King lashed out while helping to collect bottles and glasses.

Still holding a bottle, he struck the other man, causing facial injuries. But Mr Duffield said it was accepted the victim had a thin skull and had subsequently suffered further injuries in unrelated incidents.

Stuart Graham, mitigating, said the incident took place while tensions were high after a lot of drink was consumed.

He said King received retribution, as two bystanders assaulted him after the attack.