Victim of unprovoked Leeds attack ‘devastated’ after guilty man avoids court

Michael Rokita, the victim of an unprovoked attack in Leeds city centre.
Michael Rokita, the victim of an unprovoked attack in Leeds city centre.
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A man who was knocked unconscious in an unprovoked assault in Leeds city centre says he is “devastated” his attacker has avoided a court prosecution.

Michael Rokita, from Moortown, was on a night out on Boxing Day when he was jumped from behind and punched to the ground.

He was knocked out after hitting his head on the pavement and had to have hospital treatment for cuts to his head and lip.

Two men were arrested and Mr Rokita, 22, later found out he had been targeted because his attacker wrongly believed he was involved in an earlier fight.

But he was dismayed to discover the man had been given a community resolution – a form of sanction designed for minor offences – and a six-month ban from the city centre.

He said: “I was devastated. I feel let down. It was a totally unprovoked attack and he hasn’t been given any kind of deterrent to stop him doing it again.”

Mr Rokita, who is a management apprentice for a heating company, was waiting with a female friend on Boar Lane at about 10pm when he was attacked.

“They came at me from behind,” he said. “I didn’t really have a clue what went on. I came round and a police officer was there, then I went in and out of consciousness. In a way I feel lucky, because you hear about people who are punched once, they hit their head and it can be fatal.”

He was patched up in hospital and spent two more days in bed recovering from concussion. Mr Rokita and his father, George, went to Leeds central police station to pursue the matter after finding out it would not go to court. They said they were told they would be contacted but have heard nothing since.

George Rokita said: “I’m absolutely disgusted with how this has been handled.”

Insp Peter Corley, of Leeds neighbourhood investigations, said a community resolution was appropriate because the offender had no previous convictions, admitted the assault and showed remorse. He added: “He and another man were arrested and kept in custody until the following afternoon after police officers came across the incident.

“When interviewed the men said they had been in a queue for a nightclub when they became involved in an altercation and were assaulted by unknown suspects and both had injuries consistent with being assaulted. It appears the offender hit the victim mistakenly as part of that incident.

“He expressed concern for the victim and his apologies were passed on by the investigating officer. Had the matter been progressed to court it is very unlikely the offender would have received any greater penalty.”

He said Mr Rokita had initially been happy with the outcome.

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