A Valentine’s Day diner had his jaw broken and was arrested for sexual assault after being wrongly accused of groping two women during his meal.
Simon Gudgeon, 48, was punched in the face twice by Albert Saunders, 27, at the Little Italy restaurant in Soho, London, where he was eating with his wife.
Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Gudgeon had put his hands up in front of Saunders’ girlfriend as a joke and was mistaken for touching her instead.
Saunders then accused him of sexually assaulting both his girlfriend and his sister before he lashed out.
Both men were arrested and Mr Gudgeon was held in custody after hospital treatment while the sex assault claim was investigated.
But police reviewed CCTV footage and found no evidence to back Saunders’ claim.
Saunders’ girlfriend and sister both accept they were not touched by Mr Gudgeon.
Alex Kettle-Williams, prosecuting, said that Mr Gudgeon told Saunders ‘you’ve had too much to drink, silly boy’ shortly before the attack took place last February.
‘He felt his teeth move and was spitting blood,’ she told the court.
‘Saunders told police that the victim had groped his girlfriend and sister. It resulted in the victim himself being arrested and taken into police custody.
‘He was given some medical attention as a result of the assault he sustained, he had a fracture to his jaw.’
James Elvidge, defending Saunders, urged the judge to give him a suspended sentence and a curfew between 9pm and 6am.
He said: ‘He is currently working as a courier, he earns £500 a week and lives with his girlfriend.
‘He does not go out anymore, he does not drink, he is scared about what might happen, he stays in doors.’
Saunders, of Ravenoak Way, Chigwell, Essex, admitted assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.
Judge Deborah Taylor said only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate and jailed him for eight months.
She said: ‘You admitted you slapped him because at the time he had groped your girlfriend and sister. CCTV was looked out and no evidence of him acting in that way was found.
‘This resulted in him having that allegation made while he was still suffering from a fractured jaw and being kept in kept in custody in hospital whilst investigations were made.
‘It is now accepted that no sexual offence took place at all. That does not excuse in any way what you did.’